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Portrait of a Florentine Nobleman

Francesco Salviati, Italian, 1510–1563
Oil on panel
Made in
Florence, Tuscany, Italy, Europe
Current Location
On View, Gallery 236E
40 1/4 x 32 1/2 in. (102.2 x 82.6 cm)
framed: 52 1/4 in. x 45 in. x 5 1/4 in. (132.7 x 114.3 x 13.3 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase
Public Domain
Object Number
This portrait presents a confident young man seated before an acid-green knotted drapery. A bearded man dripping with water reclines in the background, probably intended to represent a river god. Beside him, an opened flower blossom supports a small female figure. Together they represent the city of Florence, which is located on the Arno River, and has a name derived from the Italian word for flower. The portrait embodies the complex aesthetic of 16th-century Mannerism in its bold acid green drapery, the elegant and attenuated hands, and the unusual coloration in the sky. The Mannerist style was grounded in artifice, that is, it emphasized artistic invention over the slavish imitation of nature. The obvious artificiality of the painting makes clear the artist’s abilities at rendering pleasing forms and surprising color combinations.
- 1937
Bertram Georges Francis Currie, Esq., Hampshire, England [1]

1937/04/16 -
Sir Alec Martin, purchased at the sale of the Currie collection at Christie's, London, April 16, 1937, lot no. 118 [2]

1937/07/09 -
Sandor Collection, purchased at Christie's, London, July 9, 1937, lot no. 118 [3]

by 1942 - 1943
Arnold Seligmann, Rey & Co., Inc., New York, NY, USA [4]

1943 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from Arnold Seligmann, Rey & Co., Inc. [5]

[1] According to Stephanie Tasch, Christie's, the painting was the property of Bertram Currie, Esq., and removed for auction from Minley Manor, the Currie's family residence in Hampshire [E-mail dated October 8, 2002, SLAM document files]. The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., has a painting in its collection by Peter Paul Rubens which was also sold at auction April 16, 1937 as part of the Currie estate. It, according to the Getty Provenance Index, was in the collection of Bertram Wodehouse Currie (d.1896), inherited by Laurence Currie (d.1934), and later inherited by Bertram George Francis Currie, who sold the painting at auction in 1937. It is probable that the Saint Louis Art Museum's painting shares this same early history.

[2] The painting was bought at auction April 16, 1937 by Sir "A. M." The initials stand for Alec Martin who was at that time affiliated with Christie's, Manson & Woods, London. In an annotated copy of the Christie's sales catalogue, "Martin" is handwritten in the right margin ["Catalogue of Pictures by Old Masters Sold by the Order of the Honourable John Hare...Also the Properties of Bertram Currie Esquire, et. al.," Christie's, London, April 16, 1937, lot no. 118; "Picture Price Current." Eds. F.L. Wilder and E. L. Wilder. Volume II. London, 1937, p. 210; SLAM document files].

[3] Later in 1937, the painting was purchased by "Sandor," although the consigner remained anonymous [see note [1] and "Picture Price Current"].

[4] Correspondence and bill of sale dated October 16, 1943, from Arnold Seligmann, Rey & Co., Inc. [SLAM document files].

[5] Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum, October 7, 1943.
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