Il Guercino Leads Old Master Drawings at Swann Galleries

Courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, Il Guercino, The Holy Spirit Appearing to St. Gregory, red chalk, late 1640s. Sold for $21,250.

New York—Swann Galleries’s curated sale of Old Master Drawings on Tuesday, November 5 brought original works, studies and preparatory drawings from the most sought-after European draughtsmen from the past several centuries.

Leading the auction was Il Guercino’s late-1640s red chalk study of St. Gregory being greeted by a dove—likely a drawing related to an unfulfilled commission for a painting of the saint. The Holy Spirit Appearing to St. Gregory sold for $21,250.

Additional Italian drawings included Christ’s Charge to Peter from the circle of Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino. Based on one of Raphael’s seven large cartoons painted as designs for tapestries, the work represented the Italian Renaissance at $10,625. Mannerism featured a red chalk drawing A Figure Scene with a Woman Feeding a Monkey, a Seated Man, Putti and a Boar from the school of Francesco Primaticcio at $5,460, and a pen and brown ink study An Allegory of Summer from a follower of Il Salviati at $6,500.

Henri-Edmond Cross’s circa-1890 pointillist watercolor The Sower topped the French offerings at $19,500. French Baroque works found success with Laurent de la Hyre’s St. Peter Healing the Sick, circa 1635, a black-chalk and pencil preparatory drawing for the artist’s painting for the May Notre Dame of 1635, which earned $15,000. Works from the estate of Eric Carlson included Théodore Géricault’s Le Giaour, an 1820 preparatory pen, ink and pencil drawing for the same-titled lithograph, brought $5,000.

Drawings by Eugène Delacroix were well received with two pencil works based loosely on figures in Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescos reaching $9,375, as well as Delacroix’s first large-scale government commission—an 1833 ink, wash and pencil preparatory study created for the allegorical decorations of the Salon du Roi in the Palais Bourbon in Paris, which brought $5,250.

Todd Weyman, the house’s Director of Prints & Drawings, noted of the sale, “We were pleased to offer this fine group of Old Master and nineteenth-century drawings, a category we'd not had an auction for in the past five years, built around the collection of the late New York art dealer Eric Carlson. This incredible selection of drawings, together with the Old Master prints from the previous week's auction, combined for a total of nearly $1.3 million, a very strong showing for the Old Masters overall.”

Swann Galleries is currently accepting quality consignments for the spring 2020 season. Visit or download the Swann Galleries App for more information.