Théodore GERICAULT (1791 - 1824)

A Lion Attacking a Horse Sold

Pencil on papier calque, laid down on card.
128 x 214 mm. (5 x 8 3/8 in.)


The subject of a horse being attacked by a lion was one that held a particular fascination for Géricault, as it had for George Stubbs before him. Géricault would have known of Stubbs’s paintings of lions and horses in combat even before his stay in England in 1820-1821, as prints of these subjects were available in France and he copied some of them. Géricault produced several pencil drawings and watercolours of lions attacking horses1, culminating in one of his most dramatic depictions of the theme; a drawing of A Horse Attacked by a Lion in the Museum Boijmans-van Beuningen in Rotterdam. He also produced two lithographs of the subject.

The attribution of the present sheet to Géricault has been confirmed by Lorenz Eitner. A copy of this drawing, attributed to Alexandre Colin, is in a private collection, while a variant of the composition, with the head of the horse not raised, appears in a sheet of pencil studies by Géricault in a private collection.

Douglas Huntly Gordon, Baltimore, Maryland (his collector’s mark [Lugt 1130a] stamped on a museum loan label formerly attached to the old backing board)
Loaned by him to the Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland
Anonymous sale (‘The Property of a Lady’), New York, Christie’s, 24 May 1989, part of lot 335.

Germain Bazin, Théodore Géricault: Étude critique, documents et catalogue raisonné, Vol.VII, Paris, 1997, p.31 and pp.149-150, no.2343A.


A Lion Attacking a Horse


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