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The Crucifixion

Giambattista Tiepolo, Italian, 1696–1770
with the assistance of his son Giandomenico Tiepolo, Italian, 1727–1804
Oil on canvas
Made in
Venice, Veneto, Italy, Europe
Current Location
On View, Gallery 204
31 1/4 x 34 3/4 in. (79.4 x 88.3 cm)
framed: 40 1/8 x 43 5/8 in. (101.9 x 110.8 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase
Public Domain
Object Number
Giambattista Tiepolo’s painting of the crucifixion and death of Christ is infused with fresh energy. Before Tiepolo, most artists arranged this scene with Christ’s cross in the center and the two thieves positioned symmetrically on either side, so that the viewer could address the image of Christ directly. Here Tiepolo has shifted the viewer’s position to the right side of the grouping, yielding an oblique viewpoint. This is one way that he makes the scene more dynamic and exciting. To increase such effects, Tiepolo applied the paint with a dazzling, almost shorthand technique that creates energetic lines capable of suggesting the motion of a charging horse or the agony of a dying man.
- 1870
Mme. Antoine Birckenstock Brentano (1780-1869), Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany [1]

Charles Sedelmeyer (1837-1925), Paris, France; Vienna, Austria [2]

by 1892 - 1912
Consul Eduard Friedrich Weber (1830-1907), Hamburg, Germany [3]

- 1926
Eugène Fischhof, Paris, France

1926 - 1937
M. Knoedler & Co., London, England; New York, NY, USA, purchased from Eugène Fischhof [4]

1937 - 1940
Clendenin J. Ryan, New York, NY, purchased from M. Knoedler & Co. [5]

1940/01/19 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from the sale of the Ryan collection at Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, January 19, 1940, lot no. 228 [6]

The "Crucifixion" and its companion painting, "Christ Carrying the Cross," share the same provenance until the Ryan sale in 1940. At this time, "Christ Carrying the Cross" was purchased by Eugenio Ventura in Florence, Italy, and the "Crucifixion" was brought to the Museum.

[1] According to an 1870 catalogue of Madame Brentano's collection, the painting and its companion piece, "Christ Carrying the Cross," were in her collection ["Catalogue des tableaux anciens et objects d'art composant la Galerie de feu Madame Antoine Brentano neé de Birckenstock, Frankfurt a. M.," Frankfurt, April 4, 1870, p. 87, n. 174]. Other sources including the Getty Provenance Index website and Antonio Morassi's catalogue raisonné also mention that the paintings belonged to the Brentano collection until this time [Morassi, Antonio. "A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings of G. B. Tiepolo, Including Pictures by His Pupils and Followers Wrongly Attributed to Him." London, Phaidon Press, 1962, p. 42; printout from Getty website, SLAM document files].

[2] The paintings were noted in the catalogue of the Charles Sedelmeyer collection in 1872 [Gemälde moderner und alter meister." Collection Sedelmeyer, December 19-21, cat. no. 160]. Sedelmeyer's ownership is also cited on the Getty Provenance Index website [see note 1], and in the 1892 inventory of future owner Eduard Friedrich Weber [Woermann, Karl. "Wissenschaftliches Verzeichnis der Älteren Gemälde der Galerie Weber in Hamburg." Dresden: Druck von Wilhelm Hoffmann, 1892, p. 120, no. 142]. In addition, the "Crucifixion" is listed among nine other works that were exhibtied in the Sedelmeyer Gallery in Paris. Although the publication is dated from 1913, the actual showing could have taken place earlier, or, the book is a synopsis of Tiepolo's works that Sedelmeyer had possessed at some time [Mauclair, Camille. "Dix chefs-d'oeuvre de G. B. Tiepolo exposés a la Galerie Ch. Sedelmeyer." Paris, 1913]. Since Sedelmeyer was an art dealer, perhaps the paintings were consigned to his establishment upon the death of Madame Brentano. Nevertheless, it seems that the paintings were not in Sedelmeyer's ownership for a long time; according to the 1892 Weber inventory and a the Getty Art History Information Program, the paintings were on the Viennese art market in 1874 [letter dated June 29, 1988; SLAM document files]. Neither one of the texts refers to possible sellers, however it could have been Sedelmeyer based on existing information.

[3] In the 1892 inventory of the Weber collection, both paintings are listed as being in the Consul's collection (see note [2]). Even though the paintings appeared on the 1874 Viennese art market, it is unknown if Weber purchased the paintings at this time. According to an annotated copy of the "Galerie Weber, Hamburg" sale catalogue, the paintings were in auction on February 20, 1912, at Rudolph Lepke's Kunst-Auctions-Haus, Berlin, no. 160 [SLAM document files]. Unfortunately, the results of the auction are not noted.

[4] According to the Getty Art History Information Program [letter dated September 23, 1988], the paintings were purchased from Fischhof by Knoedler's London office. Before the end of the year the painting and its pendant were shipped to New York where they remained until 1937. In that same year, Clendenin J. Ryan bought the pair from Knoedler's [SLAM document files].

[5] See note [4].

[6] An annotated copy of the sales catalogue verifies that the "Crucifixion" was included in the Ryan sale at Parke-Bernet Gallery in 1940 ["Gothic and Renaissance Paintings and British XVIII Century Portraits." New York: Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., 1940; SLAM document files]. By request of the Board of Control on January 18, 1940, Mr. Henschel of Knoedler's acted as an agent for the museum at the Ryan sale. Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum, February 1, 1940.
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