Pre-emption of a Géricault for the Musée Delacroix

15/11/13 - Acquisition - Paris, Musée Eugène Delacroix - At the Artcurial auction on 13 November, the Musée Delacroix purchased an Equestrian Portrait of Jérôme Bonaparte (ill. 1) painted by Théodore Géricault after Jean-Antoine Gros, for 94,734€ (including charges) thanks to a pre-emption.

1. Théodore Géricault (1791-1824)
d’après Antoine-Jean Gros
Equestrian Portrait of Jérôme Bonaparte
Oil on canvas - 48 x 38 cm
Paris, Musée Eugène Delacroix
Photo : Artcurial

2. Antoine-Jean Gros (1771-1835)
Equestrian Portrait of Jérôme Bonaparte, 1808
Oil on canvas - 321 x 265 cm
Versailles, Musée national du Château
Photo : RMN-GP/G. Blot

The work is drawn from a portrait painted by Gros and held in Versialles (ill. 2). However, in a lengthy catalogue entry Bruno Chenique explains, no doubt quite correctly, that this copy by Géricault and another very similar one residing at the Fondation Dosne-Thiers in Paris were probably executed instead after a sketch by Gros for his painting. Indeed, though Géricault usually took many liberties with the works he reproduced, reinterpreting them rather than copying them strictly, the differences between these small canvases and the large painting appear to be too significant.

We know, since he wrote so several times and also because there were contemporaries confirming it, that Géricault greatly admired the artist of The Plague Victims of Jaffa. The purchase of this small painting by the Musée Delacroix thus enables the establishment to evoke not only the ties between Delacroix and Géricault (already visible in the study it holds of The Virgin of the Sacred Heart but also those between Delacroix and Gros who also exerted a strong influence over his art.

Version française

Didier Rykner, vendredi 15 novembre 2013

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