The Drawings of Francesco Guardi

The Drawings of Francesco Guardi

The Drawings of Francesco Guardi

The Drawings of Francesco Guardi

Excerpt

It seems to me unjust, sometimes, that writers upon art should give personal thanks in their prefaces to friends and colleagues for immediate help in their work, and yet restrict their acknowledgements of earlier books on the same subject (without which, perhaps, that work would never have been undertaken at all) to a perfunctory citation in a bibliographical list. I therefore want to begin mine by paying a special tribute to four books on Guardi which have been my constant companions in the present study: George Simonson Francesco Guardi (Methuen, London, 1904), a pioneer work whose usefulness is by no means at an end; Giuseppe Fiocco monograph, published in Florence in 1923, which may be said to be the foundation of all recent studies of the painter; Rodolfo Pallucchini admirable publication (1943) of the Guardi drawings in the Museo Correr at Venice, which appeared both in Italian and German editions; and finally, the monograph by Max Goering (Schroll, Vienna, 1944), which contains much unpublished material, particularly among drawings. Hardly less valuable to me than these has been Venezia e il suo Estuario (Venice, 1926) by Giulio Lorenzetti, a guide-book which is quite indispensable to any serious student of Venetian art. Mr. Simonson, to whom I am indebted for personal kindness in the old days, and Dr. Goering, who was a victim of the last war, are now beyond the reach of my acknowledgements; but the distinguished Italian scholars I have named will themselves realize, if they read this book, how much I owe to them; and if I have occasionally disagreed with their views, I hope they will recognize and excuse the irresistible temptation, which every new writer feels, to proclaim his independence and not to acknowledge all his debts.

In view of the recent date and authority of Pallucchini's work on the Correr drawings, I have illustrated only a small number from that rich collection. At the same time, in directing my attention chiefly elsewhere, I am at a disadvantage in never having been to America. Many of the freest of Guardi's drawings are in the United States; and the Metropolitan Museum of New York, in particular, has now a collection second to none in quality, and to that of the Museo Correr only in numbers, since its acquisition in 1937 of an important series from the Marquis de Biron. This disadvantage, however, has been to some extent overcome through the kind co-operation of the American Museum authorities. I am especially grateful to Miss Agnes Mongan, of the Fogg Art Museum, who, though she was herself planning a book on the same subject, generously made over her notes to me, and has . . .

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