font-awesome-load
material-design-icons-load

An Art Dealer's Photographs: The Collection of Elia Volpi

The art dealer Elia Volpi

Florentine by choice, Elia Volpi (Colle Plinio 1858 – Città di Castello 1938) is counted as one of the greatest Italian antiquarians of the early twentieth century. Numerous works today found in European and American collections passed through his hands, not least the Annunciation by Botticelli (Metropolitan Museum, New York) or the Portrait of Cardinal Pietro Bembo by Titian (National Gallery, Washington), both originally belonging to the Barberini collection in Rome. Yet Volpi, like many of his future colleagues, wanted to become a painter and from 1872 attended the Academy of Fine Arts of Florence, primarily studying the works of Raffaello, Andrea del Sarto and Ghirlandaio. The two drawings shown here are testament to this. As it was not possible for him to earn a living as a painter, he initially started working as a restorer and assistant to the Florentine antiquarian Stefano Bardini before later starting his own antiques business around the mid-1890s. The timing could not have been more auspicious: the changed economic conditions forced many Italian aristocratic families to part with their collections. Other events, such as the dissolution of some religious orders in the years following 1866 and the renovation of the historic centre of Florence, with the knocking down of entire quarters, helped to resupply the market with new items. Besides museum directors, such as Wilhelm von Bode, Volpi's numerous customers included American collectors for the most part, for example Isabella Steward Gardner and the banker Pierpont Morgan.


Brogi: Elia Volpi. Collotype from: Catalogue de la vente des objects d’art ancien composant les collections Elie Volpi. Maison de ventes. Jandolo & Tavazzi Rome, Rome 1910.

Elia Volpi: Madonna della Seggiola based on Raphael, charcoal on board, Photo Library of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Florence, 19 x 20,5-20,8 cm, inv. no. 435608

Elia Volpi: portrait of a woman based on Domenico Ghirlandaio, pensil on board, Photo Library of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Florence, 21,9-22,3 x 19,8-20,1 cm, inv. no. 435609

Unidentified photographer: Interior View of Pieve in Canoscio, Elia Volpi, Città di Castello, Pieve di Canoscio. Albumin print, 18,9 x 24,9 cm, before 1900, inv. no.436308

Unidentified photographer: Annunciation, Sandro Botticelli, New York, Metropolitan Museum (before Barberini Collection, Rome). Silver bromide gelatine print with sepia discolouration, 21 x 30,9 cm, before 1905, inv. no. 607425

Unidentified photographer: Potrait of cardinal Pietro Bembo, Titian, Washington, National Gallery (formerly Barberini collection, Rome). Albumin print, 22,2 x 19,9 cm, before 1905, inv. no. 607430

Unidentified photographer: The Virgin in Glory with Saints, G.D. Tiepolo, Strasbourg, Musée des Beaux Arts, bought by W. Bode in 1900 for the Museum negotiated by Volpi. Albumin print, 25,1 x 18,7 cm, before 1900, inv. no. 607420

Unidentified photographer: Portrait of a nobleman (Pierantonio Bandini?), Bronzino, Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada. Silver gelatine print, 25 x 19,8 cm, before 1900, inv. no. 607421

Unidentified photographer: “Madonna Morgan”, Raphael, sold by Volpi to Pierpont Morgan in 1909. Unknown location, Carbon print, 24,8 x 19 cm, before 1909, inv. no. 608121

Unidentified photographer: Candlestick, Tuscany, second half 15th century, auction Volpi, New York 1916, now New York, Metropolitan Museum. Silver gelatine print, 28,8 x 19,8 cm, before 1916, inv. no. 607418

Unidentified photographer: Bronze bust of Boccaccio, after Giovanni Francesco Rustici, New York, Pierpont Morgan Library. Collodion print, 13,2-14,4 x 11-11,6 cm, before 1913, inv. no. 607422

Unidentified photographer: Bronze bust of Boccaccio, based on Giovanni Francesco Rustici, New York, Pierpont Morgan Library. Collodion print, 18,1 x 13,1 cm, before 1913, inv. no. 607424

Unidentified photographer: Rape of Deianira, Pesellino, London, Courtauld Institute of Art. Carbon print, 21,4 x 19 cm, before 1900, inv. no. 608120

Unidentified photographer: Venetian chamber with 16th century frescoes, formerly Collection W.R.Hearst, San Simeon (California), sold on the auction Volpi, New York 1927. Silver bromide gelatine print, 19,9 x 25 cm, before 1927, inv. no. 607428

Unidentified photographer: Venetian chamber with 16th century frescoes, formerly Collection W.R.Hearst, San Simeon (California), sold on the auction Volpi, New York 1927. Silver bromide gelatine print, 19,8 x 25,8 cm, before 1927, inv. no. 607419




© KHI in Florence | 26.09.2020 10:08:47