Monday, October 31, 2011

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - A Fight for a Woman

Price Realized

signed and dated 'G.C.D.R./Sep.855' (lower right) and inscribed 'Skelt fecit' (lower left) and with inscription by William Michael Rossetti 'By Dante G. Rossetti/The 2 Sketches of a Fight for a Woman/may have been done about the same/time, 1855. In writing "Skelt fecit" DGR/referred to the "Stage-characters" dear/to his childhood. The centre subject (Gipsies [sic].) may be rather earlier than 1855' (on a label attached to the backboard)
pen and black ink and brown wash, on paper
7 1/8 x 8 7/8 in. (18.1 x 22.5 cm.)

The subject of two men fighting over a woman - one that had many resonances in his own life - fascinated Rossetti from boyhood, and he returned to it in pictorial terms over many years. Virginia Surtees' catalogue lists a 'juvenile sketch' made as early as 1840, when the artist was only twelve (no. 180B), and a more mature sketch in brush and indian ink which she dates to c. 1853 (no. 180A). The latter drawing is in the Birmingham Art Gallery.

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