Traces of the Hand: Master Drawings from the Collection of Frederick and Lucy S. Herman
Formerly attributed to Antonietta Brandeis
The Knight's Farewell, n.d.
Pen and ink over graphite on wove paper
12 1/2 x 16 15/16 in, 31.75 x 43.02 cm (sheet)
Inscription: Signed in pencil "ABrandeis" at lower right
Watermark: J Whatman
Provenance: Acquired from Luigi & Fighi, Florence, 1984
Gift of The Frederick and Lucy S. Herman Foundation, 2007.15.22
Though the attribution of this drawing to Antonietta Brandeis, the Austrian-born artist active in Italy, had not previously been questioned, close inspection of a number of physical aspects of the drawing suggests that it may well be by another hand. The subject matter, a knight taking leave of his lady, is entirely different from the numerous vedute, particularly of Venice, for which Brandeis is known today. Moreover, its execution on Whatman paper, whose popularity among artists began in the late eighteenth century and ran through the first decades of the nineteenth century, would seem to suggest a date of execution prior to Brandeis’ birth. Finally, the "ABrandeis" signature is executed in pencil, suggesting that it may well have been added at a later date.
These physical markings strongly suggest that, instead of an attribution to Brandeis, the artist of the present work likely was active earlier in the nineteenth century, further evidenced by the drawing’s overtly romantic subject matter. Its linear execution particularly recalls the works of German artists in this earlier period, but an attribution to an artist active in England should also not be ruled out.