Study of Rocks, Shrubs, and Tree Trunks at Monte Casale near Sansepolcro, Tuscany
Edward Lear (British, London 1812–1888 San Remo)
Oil with traces of graphite on two pieces of blue paper mounted on canvas
9 x 12 7/8 in. (22.9 x 32.7 cm)
Thaw Collection, Jointly Owned by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Morgan Library & Museum, Gift of Eugene V. Thaw, 2009
Not on view
Inscription: Inscribed and dated in brown ink (lower right, beneath the penciled outline of a duck): Mte. Casale / 18. October. 1842; inscribed in graphite (upper right): the… large & small / & very blue green. / there should be more black and / greys… & darker Bitumen / yellow [?] moss, Sienna pale / ferns…
[Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd., London, until 1998]; Eugene V. Thaw, New York (by 2002–9)
London. Thos. Agnew & Sons Ltd.,. "English Watercolours, Drawings and Small Oil Paintings," February 25–March 20, 1998, no. 96 (as "Rocks, Shrubs and Tree Trunks at Monte Casale, near Sansepolcro, Tuscany").
New York. Pierpont Morgan Library. "The Thaw Collection: Master Drawings and Oil Sketches, Acquisitions Since 1994," September 27, 2002–January 19, 2003, no. 104.
New York. Morgan Library & Museum. "Studying Nature: Oil Sketches from the Thaw Collection," January 23–August 30, 2009, unnum. checklist (as "Study of Rocks, Shrubs, and Tree Trunks at Monte Casale near Sansepolcro").
Cara Dufour Denison inThe Thaw Collection: Master Drawings and Oil Sketches, Acquisitions Since 1994. Exh. cat., Pierpont Morgan Library. New York, 2002, pp. 224–25, no. 104, ill. (color), notes that the rocks and tree trunks depicted here could have been compositional elements in a larger work and that the blue paper on which they appear suggests that the sketch was made outdoors and later mounted on canvas; compares it to another sketch by Lear in the Forbes Magazine Collection, New York, a study from four years earlier executed at Corpo di Cava, near Naples, though indicates that Lear spent the summer of 1842 at Monte Casale in Sicily; states that in both studies the artist seems to be looking back to his ornithological and animal studies of the 1830s.
John Gage. "Addressing the Outdoors." Studying Nature: Oil Sketches from the Thaw Collection. Ed. Jennifer Tonkovich. New York, 2011, p. 26, fig. 22 (color), notes Lear's self-criticism regarding the lack of dark colors in the oil sketch, permanently captured in his inscription at upper right.
Esther Bell. "Catalogue Raisonné of the Thaw Collection." Studying Nature: Oil Sketches from the Thaw Collection. Ed. Jennifer Tonkovich. New York, 2011, p. 132, no. 93, ill. (color), calls it "Study of Rocks, Shrubs, and Tree Trunks at Monte Casale near Sansepolcro, Tuscany".
Denison 2002 and Bell 2011 state that this work was sold at Phillips, London, September 30, 1997, as no. 102, but it is not found in the catalogue of this sale.
A related work depicting the same site, inscribed "M.te Casale. / 18. October 1842," was formerly in the collection of Julius Held (estate sale, Christie's, New York, January 30, 2009, part of no. 300).