An Early Drawing by Seurat Acquired by the Getty

Georges Seurat (1859-1891)
Hindu Beggar, c. 1878-1879
Crayon - 49.2 x 28.7 cm
Los Angeles, The J. Paul Getty Museum
Photo : Sotheby’s

17/2/14 - Acquisition - Los Angeles, The J. Paul Getty Museum - The auction of the Jan Krugier drawing collection at Sotheby’s London on 6 February set new records, bad news for French museums with their increasingly lower budgets. True, the provenance was undoubtedly a strong factor and there is no way of telling if these same sheets would have reached such highs without the same pedigree.

At this auction then, a drawing by Seurat sold for almost 2.5 million pounds when it had been evaluated at between 80,000 to 120,000, that is over, twenty times the high estimate. The work is of course a remarkable piece but this is not a "noir", one of the drawings where the artist covered the sheet entirely with points traced with a Conté pencil and which are the most sought after on the market.
The sheet, representing a Hindu Beggar is dated early, around 1878-1879, that is when Seurat was in Henri Lehmann’s workshop or just after. Although Seurat was very independent and Lehmann was not a good teacher, if we are to believe Aman-Jean his fellow student and friend in said workshop, we can nevertheless clearly distinguish the master’s influence in this drawing in the rather heavy way of applying the pencil.
The Getty museum already owned three sheets by the artist dating from the 1880’s, representing subjects as diverse as a portrait of his mother, a landscape (poplars) and a woman taking a walk (Une élégante). The purchase of this work now enables the establishment to provide a more complete representation of Seurat as a draughtsman.

Version française

Didier Rykner, lundi 17 février 2014

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