Acquisition of a Eugène Delacroix Sketch by the Van Gogh Museum

Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863)
Apollon Killing Python, 1850
Oil on Papel Mounted on Canvas - 65.5 x 60 cm
Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum
Photo : Van Gogh Museum

8/3/13 - Acquisition - Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum - An admirer of Eugène Delacroix, Vincent Van Gogh copied some of his works and was influenced by his theory of colors - a letter addressed to Théo on 3 or 4 November 1885 provides proof - noticing particularly the importance of vivacity and contrasts of shades. The Dutch painter visited the Apollo Gallery at the Louvre several times and mentioned Delacroix’s ceiling in another letter, dated 28 June 1888, observing that the use of color made by the master helped him for his painting Sower with Sunset (Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo).
The acquisition by the Van Gogh Museum in October 2012 of an oil sketch for the ceiling of the Apollo Gallery is therefore very relevant. Presented at auction at Christie’s London on 12 June 2012, it was originally acquired by Dauzats when the artist’s studio was sold in February 1864.

While several preparatory drawings for this famous painting executed by Delacroix in 1851 are documented, there is only one other known oil sketch, residing at the Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts in Belgium, more accomplished than the one at the Musée Van Gogh. What makes the latter interesting is the fact it is an early draft ; executed with rapid brush strokes and a flamboyant palette, it essentially contains the entire final composition, clearly distinguishing the universes of Good and Evil by juxtaposing complementary colors.
The influence of Eugène Delacroix will be the focus of an exhibition, "Van Gogh au travail" planned for May 2013 to mark the reopening of the museum. The work will also appear in the exhibition "Delacroix et la modernité" planned for 2015 at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and at the National Gallery in London.

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Bénédicte Bonnet Saint-Georges, lundi 11 mars 2013

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