Studies of officers and cavaliers ( recto ), Studies of officers, cavaliers and two turbaned men, a portrait of Napoleon in profile ( verso )
- Listed: January 1, 1970 12:00 am
- Title: Studies of officers and cavaliers ( recto ), Studies of officers, cavaliers and two turbaned men, a portrait of Napoleon in profile ( verso )
- Artist: Jean-Louis-André-Théodore Géricault
- Format (cm): 21.1 x 28.5 cm.
- Format (in): 8 3/8 x 11¼ in.
- Last Sale price: 122 500,00
- Last Sale date:
Jean-Louis-André-Théodore Géricault (Rouen 1791-1824 Paris) Studies of officers and cavaliers ( recto ), Studies of officers, cavaliers and two turbaned men, a portrait of Napoleon in profile ( verso ) inscribed ‘boulevard poissonière/colonne’ and ‘Willem ackermann tour st. jacques la boucherie’ ( recto ), numbered (in a later hand) ’38’ ( recto ) and ’39’ ( verso ) pencil 8 3/8 x 11¼ in. (21.1 x 28.5 cm.)
Anonymous sale; Sotheby’s, London, 20 June 1989, lot 8. with Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox, London, cat., Nineteenth century French drawings , 1991, no. 5, illus.
Please note the additional provenance: With W.M. Brady & Co., New York, from whom acquired by the present owner.
G. Bazin, Théodore Géricault. Etude critique, documents et catalogue raisonné , Paris, 1997, VII, nos. 2758-9.
This two-sided drawing, executed by Géricault around 1814, comes from a dismembered album which gathered on its pages various separate, often quite small sketches, mainly of military subjects. In the present sheet, studies of cavaliers and officers, portraits of orientals and an effigy of Napoleon, are harmoniously arranged on both recto and verso . These spontaneous sketches, drawn from life or from memory, were often used by the artist for his larger painted compositions. In the posthumous sale of the artist’s studio (Paris, 2-3 November 1824) lot 42 consisted of ‘thirty-three sketchbooks filled with studies: figures, animals, landscape views and compositions’. The present drawing certainly comes from one of these albums. The numbers on its recto and verso , ’38’ and ’39’, were inscribed by a later hand and can also be found on other drawings that came from the same album. Three of these, which were formerly in the Vercier collection, bear the numbers ’26’ and ’27’, ’34’ and ’35’, and ’32’ and ’33’ respectively (Paris, Artcurial, 21 March 2010, lots 60-2; Bazin 947-9 and 952-4); another sheet is numbered ’30-31′ (Los Angeles, Getty Museum, inv. 88.GD.46; Bazin 945-6), and a drawing formerly in the Gobin Collection in Paris is numbered ’40’ (Paris, Piasa, 31 March 2000, lot 115; Bazin 958). Of the 33 sketchbooks, today only the Zoubaloff album exists in its entirety and its original form (Paris, Louvre, inv. RF 6072; Bazin 978-1020). Another album, the so-called Chicago album, is often cited as a comparison for the group to which these drawings belongs but actually assembles four different sketchbooks (see L. Eitner, Géricault an album of drawings in the Art Institute of Chicago , Chicago, 1960; and C. Sells, ‘A revised dating for part of Géricault’s Chicago Album’, Master Drawings , XXVII, 1989, no. 4, pp. 341-57). Often, as in the case of the present work, the studies in these sketchbooks can be connected to Géricault’s paintings or watercolors. They represent first ideas drawn ad vivum , then re-elaborated on large canvases in the studio, sometimes months or years later. In the upper right corner of the recto for example, is a sketch of a soldier on a horse, which is unambiguously connected to the painting Count Colbert, Colonel of the Second Regiment of the Horse Guard, called the Dutch Lancer and to other preparatory studies for it (fig. 1; Denver Art Museum, inv. E-1292; Bazin 795). To the left is a study for the same figure riding the horse, but seen from behind. At the center of the sheet is a sketch of another soldier, possibly an early study for the painting First Regiment Lancer, called The Polish Lancer (fig. 2; private collection; Bazin 782). In the lower right corner Géricault sketched a carabinier in profile : the same figure is to be found at the center of a finished watercolour today in the Louvre (inv. RF 4619; Bazin 976). In the lower left corner is a detail of a study for the Trumpeter of the Polish Lancers (Glasgow, Burrell collection; Bazin 798). The man wearing a Russian military uniform in the lower center, could be identified with the young Tsar Alexander I of Russia as can be seen in a print by Thomas Kelly (London, The Br