Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Bay of Naples, with the Tip of Posillipo, Seen from the Harbor
Pen and brown ink and wash over graphite.
image: 4 x 5 1/4 inches (100 x 133 mm)
Thaw Collection.

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Inscribed by the artist on verso of the mount, "Gräfin Julien [von Egloffstein] / zum neuen Jahr / 1824. / J.W. v. Goethe", with (presumably the recipient's) notes on front of the mount, at lower right, in dark brown ink, "Am Schluss des glücklichen Jahr's / von Goethes Genesung / als Neujahrsgeschenk für 1824 / in weiter Entfernung von ihm / dem Neu-Geschenkten erhalten!" (Far away, at the end of the happy year of Goethe's recuperation [this drawing was] received from him - the newly given one [i.e. Goethe, having been newly restored to the world] - as a New Year's gift); at lower left, in dark brown ink, "Abtei Marienrode bey Hildesheim"; above this, at lower left, in a fainter brown ink, "Zueignung und Namensunterschrift auf der Ruchseite"; and in the same faint ink, at top of mount, "Im Besitz der Grafin Julie von Egloffstein / Motiv: / Neapel mit der Spitze des Pausilippo" [sic] "vom Hafen aus gesehen. / Von Goethe aus der Erinnerung gemalt, im Jahr 18".

Presented by the artist in 1824 to Countess Julie von Elgoffstein (1792-1869), Weimar and later Marienrode Abbey, near Hildesheim; Elgoffstein sale, Lepke, Berlin, 8 December 1891, pp. 15-16, lot 258a; Stefan Zweig (1881-1942), Salzburg; Heinrich Hinterberger (dealer), Vienna, 1936 and 1937 (unsold); by descent to Zweig's daughter Hannah Altmann; by descent to her daughter Eva Alberman, London; Brigitta Laube, Zurich; Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw, New York.

The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, NY, "Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection", 2017. Exh. cat., no. 161, repr.
The Thaw collection of master drawings : acquisitions since 2002. New York : Morgan Library & Museum, 2009, no. 26, repr.


Goethe presented this drawing to Countess Julie von Egloffstein as a New Year's gift in 1824 to mark his recuperation from a severe illness at the age of seventy-five. The writer and amateur artist had sojourned in Italy from 1786 to 1788 and produced this view of the Bay of Naples from memory many years later, after his return to Weimar. True to the Romantic spirit, it depicts a lone traveler, seen from the back, sheltered by the canopy of magnificent trees and gazing toward the setting sun, admiring the grandeur of nature before him. -- Exhibition Label, from "Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection"

Associated names: 

Thaw, Eugene Victor, former owner.
Thaw, Clare, former owner.