Claude Gelle
Three oxen (recto); A couple embracing (verso)

PROVENANCE: Probably Queen Christiana of Sweden.

Prince Livio Odescalchi, Rome, 1713, and thence by descent to the Odescalchi family; Sothebys London, 20 November 1957, part of lot 67 (to Calmann).

With Hans M. Calmann.

U.K. private collection.

Pen and brown ink (recto); black chalk (verso)

108 x 162 mm. (4 1/4 x 6 3/8 in.)

Our drawing has been dated by Roethlisberger from 1635-1645. He writes about this album: They all date from the thirties and forties, the decade to which the vast majority of his nature drawings of landscapes and trees also belong. In the painted oeuvre there is not a single landscape up to the end of his life which does not contain at least a few animals; here again animals occur most frequently in the numerous pastorals up to the middle periodThe bulk of these sketches was contained in what I have termed the Animal album.Over half the album is dedicated to studies of oxen (there are hardly any cows in Claudes oeuvre).1

Roethlisberger also compares our drawing to three other drawings from this album, which are numbered sequentially. It is also close to a drawing recently on the art market from the same album.2

Claude Lorrain came from the Ducky of Lorraine. He went to Rome at the age of 27 and developed a style of idealized landscape painting that dominated European landscape painting well into the 19th Century. His Arcadian subject matter included classical figures and animals, including cattle, oxen, sheep and goats. During the 1630s and 1640s, when our drawing was executed, Claude made excursions into the Roman campagna to makes sketches. His patrons included Popes Innocent X and Alexander VII, as well the Roman nobility.

1.M. Roethlisberger, loc.cit.

2.Patrick Perrin, Paris, catalogue no. 4, 1991 (M. Roethlisberger, op.cit., no. 223).