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  • Luigi Scaffai (Italian, 1837-1899) Interior Family Scene Painting
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Luigi Scaffai (Italian, 1837-1899) Interior Family Scene Painting

ITEM #: 611VLW11P

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Signed lower right L. Scaffai, oil on canvas laid on artist panel
Item # 611VLW11P

A vibrant work of inordinately fine detailing, this genre painting depicts a peasant woman with her young child in a simple kitchen.  The woman is dressed in numerous layers of robe with a red headscarf of the same fabric swaddling her bundled child.  The tattered edges of the fabric show a woman accustomed to making due with what is available, a rod of spooled wool nearby suggesting she is perhaps a seamstress as well, the pile of green striped cloth in a pile on a basket possibly work to be accomplished.  The kitchen is finely detailed throughout the darkness, hints of pots and pans along the rough shelves; the green painted stucco walls shine in the daylight that breaks through a single window, the crumbling stone and concrete of crisp realism.  Born in August of 1837 in Livorno, Italy, Luigi Scaffai studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence and produced a large body of work.  His focus on the simple pleasures of the Italian villages are always well conceived and flawlessly executed.  The present example is signed lower right with a flowing red script that combines the L into the underlining of Scaffai.  An exquisite example for anyone passionate about genre works of the period.

Prior auction results for artist:

  • Christies, London, Sale 4700, 14 February 1992, lot 99, “The Doctor’s Visit”, 25.5” x 33”, achieved $ 17,508 USD
  • Sotheby’s, New York, Sale N08166, 28 January 2006, lot 199, “Helping Grandmother”, 13.5” x 17.5”, achieved $ 10,800 USD
  • Christies, London, Sale 5493, 29 October 2010, lot 379, “Clay Soldiers”, 26” x 20”, achieved $ 17,910 USD
  • Sotheby’s, Chicago, Sale CH7703, 15 October 2001, lot 1472, “Reading by Daylight”, achieved $ 7,800 USD


  • E Benezit Dictionary of Artists, vol. XII, 2006, Gründ, p. 499
  • Popular 19th Century Painting, A Dictionary of European Genre Painters, 1986, Hook & Poltimore, p. 561, p. 570

Measurements:  [frame] 26 3/4” H x 20 5/8” W x 7/8” D [panel] 25” H x 18 3/4” W

Condition Report:
Scattered losses along the lower edge, chip loss and some surface scuffing upper left in green ledge, chip loss red fabric beneath baby’s arm; under UV showing new varnish, spot of touch up on right frame edge, possible repair/touchups to the left of the woman’s face.  Images of back inaccurate, as nails have been replaced with L-brackets and wire has been replaced for strength.