- Gallery Text
Born in Vienna but residing for much of his life in Rome, Anton von Maron was one of the most celebrated portraitists of the eighteenth century, receiving commissions from the Roman elite, foreign dignitaries, and British aristocrats visiting on the Grand Tour. Here he portrays the Scottish commissioner and traveler Archibald Menzies (d. 1777) in an elaborate waistcoat and fur-trimmed jacket. The sitter holds a copy of Fingal, an Ancient Epic Poem (1761), the book by James Macpherson purported to be a translation from the Gaelic. The inclusion of that volume, with its controversial claim of a classical heritage for Scotland, marks his sitter’s political affiliations and engagement in contemporary debates on history and literature, and underscores the sitter’s desire to be associated with Rome.
- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
Anton von Maron, Austrian (Vienna, Austria 1733 - 1808 Rome, Italy)
- Archibald Menzies
- Work Type
Level 2, Room 2220, European and American Art, 17th–19th century, Rococo and Neoclassicism in the Eighteenth Century
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- Physical Descriptions
- Oil on canvas
- 76.2 x 63.5 cm (30 x 25 in.)
frame: 95.3 x 82.6 x 5.1 cm (37 1/2 x 32 1/2 x 2 in.)
- Inscriptions and Marks
- label: top stretcher at right, blue ink on paper, handwritten: J[?] 68 W. R. 3
- label: on verso at u.r., red and black ink on paper, typewritten: 12 Homage to Mozart Ex. / Anton von Maron / Portrait of Archibald Menzies
- inscription: verso of canvas: Arch. Menzies Esqr / Marone. Pinxt / Rome 1763
- Mrs. Pender-Small (?-1927), sold; [through Christie’s London, November 28, 1927, lot 50]; to Spiller (1927-?). [Julius H. Weitzner, New York, NY, sold]; to Robert Rantoul Endicott, New York, NY (?-1957), gift; to Busch-Reisinger Museum, 1957.
1. According to a letter dated October 21, 1968, from Mr. Brinsley Ford, London to the Director of the Busch-Reisinger Museum, the painting was purchased at the November 28, 1927 Christie’s London sale by Spiller for 32 gns. No further information about the identity of Spiller is provided; it is possible that Spiller was a dealer.
2. According to a letter from Julius H Weitzner to Robert R. Endicott dated September 27, 1957, the painting was exhibited at the Kaiser-Friedrich Museum in Berlin from 1929-1932.
3. The painting was lent by Julius H. Weitzner to the 1956 Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford, CT exhibition “Homage to Mozart” (cat. 36).
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Gift of Robert Rantoul Endicott
- Accession Year
- Object Number
- European and American Art
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- Publication History
Homage to Mozart, exh. cat., Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art (Hartford, CT, 1956), cat. no. 36 p. 19
George R. Brooks, "A Portrait by Anton von Maron in the Busch-Reisinger Museum", Gazette des Beaux-Arts (February 1966), pp. 115-118, pp.115-118, repr. p. 166 as fig. 1
Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings from the Fogg Art Museum, exh. cat., Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, NY, 1967), cat. 45
Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 60, color plate; pp. 117, 270, repr. b/w cat. no. 439
John Ingamells, A Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy, 1701-1800, compiled from the Brinsley Ford Archive, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art (New Haven, CT, 1997), p. 654 under Menzies, Archibald
Peter Nisbet and Joseph Koerner, The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, ed. Peter Nisbet, Harvard University Art Museums and Scala Publishers Ltd. (Cambridge, MA and London, England, 2007), p. 212
Isabella Schmittmann, Anton von Maron (1731-1808). Leben und Werk, Scaneg Verlag (Munich, Germany, 2013), pp. 193-195 as cat. 41; p. 454; repr. p. 550 as Tf. 6b / Abb. 044
- Exhibition History
Homage to Mozart, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, 03/22/1956 - 04/29/1956
Highlights from the Collection of the Fogg Art Museum and Harvard Alumni of St. Louis, City Art Museum of St. Louis, St. Louis, 01/30/1964 - 03/01/1964
Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings from the Fogg Art Museum, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, 05/08/1967 - 06/11/1967
German Rococo and Romanticism, Danforth Museum of Art, Framingham, 03/12/1977 - 05/01/1977
German Painting 1760-1960: A New Installation, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 12/20/1983 - 02/19/1984
Masterpieces of European Art, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 06/22/1985 - 09/15/1985
32Q: 2220 18th-19th Century, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050
- Subjects and Contexts
Google Art Project
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