Gustaf Söderberg (Swedish, Norrköping 1799–1875 Stockholm)
Oil on paper, laid down on Masonite
Sheet (irregular): 9 7/8 x 6 1/4 in. (25.1 x 15.9 cm); support (Masonite): 10 x 6 3/8 in. (25.4 x 16.2 cm)
Thaw Collection, Jointly Owned by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Morgan Library & Museum, Gift of Eugene V. Thaw, 2009
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 806
The Grotto of Posillipo is actually a nearly half-mile-long tunnel that was cut through the rocky promontory separating Naples from the town of Posillipo in the first century. It became an icon of the Grand Tour in the eighteenth century, in part because of its proximity to Virgil’s Tomb, which is situated above it.
Söderberg was the first Swedish painter to take up plein-air painting, which he learned from the French landscapist Achille-Etna Michallon. He made this study during their journey to southern Italy and Sicily in 1820; in a letter dated April 8, Söderberg mentions that he had visited the Grotto that morning.
Dr. Gustaf Lindgren, Stockholm (1938–d. 1989); by descent in Lindgren family, Sweden (from 1989); [Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox, London; sold to Thaw]; Eugene V. Thaw, New York (until 2009)
Djurgården (Stockholm). Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde. "Fem Italienfarare," September–October 1974, no. 92b (as "Från Palatinen, Rom," lent by Dr. Gustaf Lindgren, possibly this work).
Christian Faerber et al. Konst i svenska hem: Målningar och skulpturer från 1800 till våra dagar. Göteborg, 1942, vol. 6, p. 320 under no. 520, listed as "Från Palatinen, Rom" (1821), with dimensions as 26 x 16 cm [possibly this work]).
Asher E. Miller in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2008–2010." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 68 (Fall 2010), pp. 47, 49.
Esther Bell. "Catalogue Raisonné of the Thaw Collection." Studying Nature: Oil Sketches from the Thaw Collection. Ed. Jennifer Tonkovich. New York, 2011, p. 143, no. 125, ill. (color), calls it "The Grotto of Posillipo, Naples".