A painting is preempted in Bayeux for the Musee Delacroix

Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863)
Romeo and
Juliet in front of the Tomb of
the Capulets

Oil on paper marouflé on canvas - 35.3 x 26.5 cm
Paris, Musée Delacroix (preempted
on 24 March 2008)
Photo : Bayeux Enchères

1/4/08 — Acquisition — Paris, Musee Delacroix — On Monday, 24 March the Louvre preempted an oil on paper marouflé on canvas by Eugene Delacroix (ill.) for 82,000 euros (without charges) for this museum which, as our readers may remember, is now part of the larger establishment.
This is most probably the Romeo and Juliet (Scene at the Tomb of the Capulets) presented at the Exposition Universelle de 1855 where Delacroix enjoyed a veritable retrospective with no less than thirty-five paintings on display. The composition, inverted, was known thanks to a lithograph by E. Le Roux.

Delacroix painted countless works inspired by Shakespeare’s writings but few were taken from Romeo and Juliet. The scene represented here shows Romeo holding Juliet in his arms in a state of despair because he thinks she is dead. The drama unfolds before our eyes in a spirit which is still totally Romantic. Despite the small format, the image suggested here is a powerful one with the dramatic intensity emphasized by the contrast between the white draped robe which already evokes a shroud and the brown and black shades of the rest of the composition. Maxime Du Camp noticed it in his review of the Salon [1] : “The main interest of the painting is in the white drapery surrounding the young girl’s knees. The rest is barely sketched in and disappears in light of the excessive brightness of this white stain.” In 1855, Delacroix also exhibited a painting depicting Romeo and Juliet’s Farewell already shown in 1846 [2].

Version française

Didier Rykner, vendredi 11 avril 2008


[1] Maxime Du Camp, Les Beaux-Arts à l’exposition universelle de 1855, Peinture. Sculpture, Paris, 1855, p. 110

[2] Oil on canvas (61 x 50.5 cm.). Sold at Sotheby’s London on 26 and 27 June 1978.

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