Circle of Salvator Rosa, 1615 - 1673, a large oil on canvas
Wind swept mountainous landscape, figures and animals in the foreground, signed with monogram 'SR' lower left, ebonised and gilt framed.
(226cm x 172cm) (248cm x 194cm including frame)
Provenance: Museum of fine arts, Boston, Massachusetts, 02115.
I am glad you wrote with a follow-up question, as I discovered a duplicate file for the painting, which contains much more information than I found earlier. I have now merged the two files.
In a letter to the MFA in 1979, the donor stated that "The so-called Salvator Rosa I bought 52 years ago for $1000 … I had it cleaned and the signature of S. R. on the milestone did not come off so I assumed it to be genuine, not that I cared, as I liked the picture which looked well on the staircase … It seemed to me typical Salvator Rosa…" Another note in the file by our paintings curator says that the collector acquired it around 1925 "at a shop in 3rd Avenue, NY. Was later cleaned and lined by Boehler, Munich." Apparently, the owner kept it in his home in Switzerland until about 1950, at which time he had it brought to the U.S. and placed it on loan to the MFA.
In terms of the attribution, here is what I can find:
Burton Frederickson and Federico Zeri called it "school of Marco Ricci" in their 1972 Census of Pre-Nineteenth Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections.
On January 15, 1979, the MFA wrote to Marcel Roethlisberger-Bianco, asking for his opinion (there is no response in the file). The letter states that "it was brought as a Rosa; more recently at Federico Zeri's suggestion it has been called Marco Ricci. Lately we have considered Gaspard Dughet or Orrizonte."
On February 14, 1979, Marco Chiarini at the Palazzo Pitti, Florence, wrote to the MFA in response to an inquiry that "I haven't reached an opinion on it: what I can say, is that to my mind it is not Roman … I have the feeling it could be North Italy, Emilian area, but a student of this period I asked the opinion of in Bologna is not convinced…."
I attach scans of these documents for your files.
There is no documentation of the official change in attribution by the MFA, but my guess is that it took place around 1979 as we were preparing the Summary Catalogue, which was published in 1985. By that time, the attribution had been changed.
All the best,
Stock No: b265
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