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Angelika Kauffmann

(1741 Chur – 1807 Rome)

Girl Sitting Half-Dressed. Etching. 16 x 19 cm. 1770. Nagler 22 b; Andresen 27 I (of II); C. G. Boerner, Angelika Kauffmann und ihre Zeit, 1979, 31 I (of II).

Angelika Kauffmann’s exceptional artistic talent was apparent when she was still a child and was fostered from an early age by her father, the painter Johann Joseph Kauffmann, and her mother Cleofa Luz, in both painting and music. The family moved from Chur, the Swiss town where Angelika was born, to Como in Italy, where at the age of eleven she completed her first known portrait assignment – that of the Archbishop of Como. She quickly gained a reputation as a child prodigy, received numerous portrait commissions and helped her father on major assignments. It was not long before he began to concentrate on his daughter’s training and furthering her talent. In the course of her first journeys to Italy from 1754 to 1757 and 1758 to 1766 Angelika produced copies after Italian masters and made contact with aristocrats on the Grand Tour, artists, diplomats and clients. In Florence she met Johann Friedrich Reiffenstein, who instructed her in etching and procured commissions to advance her career. At the age of nineteen Kauffmann was made an honorary member of the Accademia Clementina in Bologna and of the Accademia del Disegno in Florence and two years later of the Accademia di San Luca in Rome. Numerous other honours followed. In 1766 she settled in London, where she became established as a highly regarded portrait and history painter, being appointed one of the founding members of the Royal Academy in 1768. In the 1770s the demand for works by Kauffmann increased to such an extent – the Danish ambassador Schönborn wrote to Klopstock saying “The whole world is angelicamad” – that reproductive prints of her compositions also flourished in England, Germany, France and Italy. Kauffmann supplied publishing houses not only with drawings, but also small-size oil paintings as designs for coloured engravings, while also systematically promoting sales of reproductive engravings and her own original prints. Described by Herder as “perhaps the most cultivated woman in Europe”, Kauffmann lived and worked in Rome from 1780 as an internationally acclaimed artist. The personality cult surrounding her culminated in an elaborate funeral ceremony after her death, which drew parallels with the life and death of Raphael.

The present delightful back view of a young woman with her upper body exposed is a fine, transparent early impression, before the addition of the brown aquatint and the publication line with the date “1780” and before further reworkings. With the full deckle edge. Of great rarity, especially in an impression of the first state, only a few of which are known to exist. Minor soiling, slight traces of handling, otherwise in excellent condition.

9.500 €

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