These three large fantastic landscapes (capricci) were in the late nineteenth century in the castle of Colloredo di Monte Albano, in North-Eastern Italy, near Udine. It is unclear if the canvases were originally painted for the castle, which belonged to the Colloredo Mels family. The sizes and shapes of the paintings seem to have been adjusted by Guardi in the course of painting or immediately thereafter. The three compositions center around rocky outcroppings, slanting tree trunks and classical ruins. Small figures toiling and fishing are set against the vast expanse of delicately tinted sky and water.
by descent to conte Paolo di Colloredo Mels, marchese di Santa Sofia, Castello di Colloredo di Monte Albano, near Udine (by 1893–at least 1905; sold to Steinmeyer); [Steinmeyer, Cologne, until 1906; sold to Bourgeois]; [Stephan Bourgeois, Cologne, 1906–10; sold to Trotti]; [Trotti, Paris, from 1910; sold to Rothschild]; baron Maurice de Rothschild, Paris (sold to Gimpel & Wildenstein); [Gimpel & Wildenstein, Paris and New York, until 1912; sold to Alexander]; Mrs. Charles B. Alexander, New York (1912–d. 1935; her estate, 1935–41); her daughters, Mrs. Arnold Whitridge, Mrs. Winthrop W. Aldrich, and Mrs. Sheldon Whitehouse, New York (1941; sold to MMA)
New York. Benjamin Altman Gallery. "Loan Exhibition of Fifty-Nine Masterpieces of Ancient and Modern Schools," March 24–April 4, 1915, no. 24 (as "A View along the Adriatic Coast," lent by Mr. C. B. Alexander).
Venice. Palazzo Grassi. "Mostra dei Guardi," June 5–October 10, 1965, no. 121 (as "Capriccio con molo arco e marina").
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Venetian Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum," May 1–September 2, 1974, no catalogue.
London. Royal Academy of Arts. "The Glory of Venice: Art in the Eighteenth Century," September 15–December 14, 1994, no. 218 (as "Capriccio with an Arch in Ruin").
Washington. National Gallery of Art. "The Glory of Venice: Art in the Eighteenth Century," January 29–April 23, 1995, no. 218.
Dino Mantovani. Il castello di Colloredo. Rome, 1894, pp. 9–10, ill. [reprinted from "Italia artistica e industriale" I, no. 6 (1893–94)], attributes the paintings (41.80, 53.225.3, and 53.225.4) to Francesco Guardi; they are set into the walls of an eighteenth-century salotto in the castello di Colloredo.
"Art Supplement." New York Herald (November 25, 1906), ill. p. 7, (with 53.225.3 and 53.225.4), as in the collection of Steinmeyer, Cologne; states that the three works, for which Guardi received 300 livres, decorated a house near Udine.
Gino Damerini. L'arte di Francesco Guardi. Venice, 1912, p. 26 n. a, pl. XXIX, as in Cologne, then with Wildenstein in Paris, and now in America.
E. Gimpel & Wildenstein. Letter to Mrs. Charles B. Alexander. December 2, 1912, writes that Guardi painted the three pictures for a member of the Colloredo family, and that the archives of the castello di Colloredo contain documents pertaining to the commission, including a receipt from Guardi for three hundred gold pieces.
George A. Simonson. "Some of Guardi's Paintings in America." Art in America 2 (1914), p. 99 n. 1.
G[iuseppe]. Fiocco inAllgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler. Ed. Ulrich Thieme and Fred C. Willis. Vol. 15, Leipzig, 1922, p. 170.
Giuseppe Fiocco. Francesco Guardi. Florence, 1923, pp. 45, 68, 73–74, no. 93, pl. LXXX.
Mario Tinti. Guardi. Paris, 1930, pl. 56.
Victor Lasareff. "Francesco and Gianantonio Guardi. I.-Figure Compositions." Burlington Magazine 65 (August 1934), p. 68, states that the three works probably date to the 1760s.
Harry B. Wehle. "A Fantastic Landscape by Guardi." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 36 (July 1941), pp. 153–56, ill., dates them probably 1782.
Max Goering. Francesco Guardi. Vienna, 1944, p. 49, pl. 94, dates them between 1765 and 1776.
Vittorio Moschini. Francesco Guardi. Milan, 1952, pl. 116.
Carlo Donzelli. I pittori veneti del Settecento. Florence, 1957, p. 109.
Rodolfo Pallucchini. La pittura veneziana del Settecento. Venice, 1960, p. 245, fig. 641.
Francis Haskell. "Francesco Guardi as 'vedutista' and some of his Patrons." Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 23 (July–December 1960), p. 265.
Pietro Zampetti. Mostra dei Guardi. Exh. cat., Palazzo Grassi. Venice, 1965, p. 235, no. 121, ill.
Rodolfo Pallucchini. "Note alla mostra dei Guardi." Arte veneta 19 (1965), pp. 227, 234, dates them to the early 1770s.
Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 96, 499, 504, 607.
Federico Zeri with the assistance of Elizabeth E. Gardner. Italian Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Venetian School. New York, 1973, pp. 29–30, pls. 30, 31 (detail), date them to the 1760s; state that they do not seem to have been designed for the room in the castello di Colloredo in which they were installed and that the circumstances of their commission are not known; add that changes were made to all three pictures during their execution or slightly later; note the existence of a much smaller version of this painting.
Antonio Morassi. Guardi: Antonio e Francesco Guardi. Venice, [1973?], vol. 1, pp. 272, 279, 480–81, no. 924; vol. 2, figs. 817, 818, 820, 822 (overall and details), dates them about 1775–80, or possibly 1782.
Luigina Rossi Bortolatto. L'opera completa di Francesco Guardi. Milan, 1974, p. 108, no. 320, ill. p. 107 and colorpls. XXXV, XXXVI (overall and detail).
Giuseppe M. Pilo. Francesco Guardi: i paliotti. Milan, 1983, pp. 16–18 nn. 25, 26, 30, dates them 1778 and discusses their function as overdoors.
Paolo Casadio inGuardi: metamorfosi dell'immagine. Exh. cat., Castello di Gorizia. Venice, 1987, pp. 139–42 n. 16, fig. 123, dates them probably mid-1770s.
Dario Succi. Francesco Guardi: itinerario dell'avventura artistica. [Milan], 1993, p. 93, fig. 90 (color), dates them 1778–80.
Mitchell Merling inThe Glory of Venice: Art in the Eighteenth Century. Ed. Jane Martineau and Andrew Robison. Exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts, London. New Haven, 1994, pp. 319–21, 326, 460, no. 218, ill. (color), dates them to the late 1770s and suggests that Guardi designed the stucco surrounds into which they were set; believes Guardi derived this composition from Carlevaris's "Harbor View" (Elizabeth II, Queen of England), probably then in Consul Smith's possession.
Adriana Augusti inSplendori del Settecento veneziano. Ed. Giovanna Nepi Sciré and Giandomenico Romanelli. Exh. cat., Ca' Rezzonico, Venice. Milan, 1995, p. 328, under no. 81.
Alessandra Fregolent. I vedutisti: ritratti del mondo tra ragione e sentimento. Milan, 2000, pp. 122–23.
Gian Camillo Custoza. Colloredo: una famiglia e un castello nella storia europea. Udine, 2003, pp. 153, 155, ill. (color), dates them 1775–80; reproduces photographs from 1927 of the drawing room at the Castello di Colloredo showing copies by the painter Colavini replacing Guardi's originals.
Thérèse Burollet. Les peintures. Paris, 2004, p. 163, under no. 58.
Bozena Anna Kowalczyk inLa pittura di paesaggio in Italia. Ed. Anna Ottani Cavina and Emilia Calbi. Vol. 2, Il Settecento. Milan, 2005, p. 217.
Claudia Crosera inLa pittura nel Veneto: il Settecento di Terraferma. Ed. Giuseppe Pavanello. Milan, 2011, pp. 386, 404 n. 216.
Canaletto Guardi: Les deux maîtres de Venise. Ed. Bozena Anna Kowalczyk. Exh. cat., Musée Jacquemart-André. Brussels, 2012, p. 36, fig. 9 (color).
Mitchell Merling inFrancesco Guardi, 1712–1793. Ed. Alberto Craievich and Filippo Pedrocco. Exh. cat., Museo Correr, Venice. Milan, 2012, p. 175.
For capricci relating to this painting see Morassi 1973, vol. 1, pp. 481–82, nos. 926–31; vol. 2, figs. 823–29.