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Elihu Vedder (American, 1836-1923) Cumaean Sibyl in the Wilderness

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American & European Works of Art - 2878B
Date / Time :
January 22, 2016 4:00PM


Elihu Vedder (American, 1836-1923)

Cumaean Sibyl in the Wilderness
Signed, inscribed, and dated "ELIHU VEDDER/Rome 1876" l.r.
Oil on canvas, 37 3/4 x 58 3/4 in. (95.9 x 149.2 cm), framed.
Condition: Lined, retouch, craquelure, very minor paint losses, undergrid visible beneath the paint layer in thinly painted areas.

N.B. This is a monochromatic version of The Sibyl Returning to Tarquin that is now in the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts. The two paintings are approximately the same size. Detroit's painting was originally purchased for Wellesley College in 1880 and has been widely published, but the version at hand is relatively unknown. In The Digressions of V. (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1910), among his entries for 1876, Vedder mentions another "Drawing of the Cumaean Sibyl" which he describes as "a monochrome in brown -- oil-colour. I wish it had been better, but she wanted it. Of course I greatly improved things in the picture I painted afterwards." Although Vedder often listed the buyer of the paintings, in this case, unfortunately, he left that line blank. The consignor reports that the painting was acquired by her family at least 50 years ago from the collection of the Gillette family of Connecticut.
Estimate $30,000-50,000

No further condition issues to report.

In her book, Elihu Vedder, American Visionary Artist in Rome, Regina Soria lists a monochrome in brown "oil color" as D 143, under the drawings section of the catalogue raisonné, as having been purchased by Lady Ashburton, London, for $750, current whereabouts unknown (1970). Dr. Soria titled the work "The Cumaean Sibyl or The Cumaean Sibyl Returning to Tarquin." In addition to citing the Digressions of V, she also cites Carrie Vedder's account ledger. Again no dimensions are provided. (Regina Soria, Elihu Vedder, American Visionary Artist in Rome (1836-1923) (Rutherford: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1970), p.360.)

The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Condition requests can be obtained via email (lot inquiry button) or by telephone to the appropriate gallery location (Boston/617.350.5400 or Marlborough/508.970.3000). Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner Inc. shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.


Craquelure, Cumaean Sibyl, Elihu Vedder, Sibyls, Vedder