Watercolor on heavy, pebbled paper, 8 7/8" by 6 1/2" (13 1/4" by 11" in simple framing), signed at lower right and dated there 1830 by the listed French artist JOSEPH FRICERO (1807-1870). The subject is a young, bearded man who appears almost as a religious figure. The drawing is heavily foxed in the field, adding to its antiquity. Some words are written in French on the reverse but the only one I can decipher is "bois" (wood). For a long time I had thought this possibly an Old Master drawing dating to 1530 (the "8" resembles a "5"), but recently came upon the artist biography and signature examples. Fricero was born in Nice, France and died there in his early sixties. The son of Philippe Fricero and Marie-Marthe Cochois, he was studying while young with Paul-Emile Barberi, and by 18 was already in Florence, where he might well have been when this drawing was created. In 1849 Fricero married Josephine Koberwein, daughter of Czar Nicholas I of Russia. A street in Nice is named after the artist, and a placard rests on a house where he lived. A number of watercolor paintings of topographical views of the coast of the Riviera area have appeared at auction, and he also seems to have traveled widely around the Mediterranean, painting in locales like Constantinople, in Turkey.
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