Johann Heinrich Fuseli (Swiss, 1741-1825)
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Johann Heinrich Fuseli (Swiss, 1741-1825) Salome with the Head of John the Baptist Unsigned, identified in information affixed to the reverse. Ink, wash, and graphite on cream laid paper with watermark "FWilding 1795," 12 1/4 x 8 5/8 in. (31.1 x 21.8 cm), framed. Condition: Fading, minor repairs, loss to corner u.l. Provenance: Ex-collection of Victor Sordan (1901-1985); a New York State Institution. N.B. Regarding the lot presented, D.H. Weinglass writes: The theme of Salome receiving the head of John the Baptist ... is a recurrent one in Fuseli's oeuvre, dating back to the late 1760s and the (lost) design he executed for Willoughby's PRACTICAL FAMILY BIBLE (published 1772) ... [A second version] was reproduced ... in the J.C. Lavater's ESSAYS ON PHYSIOGNOMY. But in Fuseli's opinion the original was so "mutilated and deformed" in the engraving that he "disowned" it. In the late 1780s Fuseli undertook ... a new edition of the PHYSIOGNOMY (published 1789-1798). This gave him the opportunity to redraw the design for "Salome" [which is the work presented here]. This drawing belongs to Fuseli's frequent "Sado-Mannerist" representations (the phrase was coined by Jeffery Daniels) of defenceless men in thrall to cruel tormentresses and femmes fatales (e.g. Adam and Eve and Sampson and Delilah), prefigured in some of his earliest drawings, e.g. "Adelheide," and "The Henpecked Husband" (both 1757-1759). The drawing will be included in D.H. Weinglass's revised and expanded English edition of Gert Schiff's monograph and catalogue raisonne, in preparation.