Eugène DELACROIX (Charenton-Saint Maurice 1798 - Paris 1863)

A Bugler on Horseback, Accompanied by a Hound Sold

Pencil, grey and brown wash, with watercolour and gouache.
208 x 255 mm. (8 1/8 x 10 in.)

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Although this fine drawing by Eugène Delacroix does not relate to any surviving painting, it is a splendid example of the artist’s spirited draughtsmanship. Unlike scenes of Oriental or medieval horsemen, contemporary military subjects are rare in Delacroix’s oeuvre; another example is a pencil study of a cavalryman on horseback, on the verso of a study of four horses in the Karen B. Cohen collection, New York. Delacroix’s interest in equine subjects dates from the beginning of the 1820’s, when he made numerous studies of horses; as the artist noted in his journal on the 15th of April 1823, ‘Il faut absolument se mettre à faire des chevaux, aller dans une écurie tous les matins’. Delacroix retained a lifelong interest in accurately capturing the appearance of horses at rest or in motion.

A related pencil study of a Siberian greyhound was in the Arosa and Suchet collections and was recorded in a drawing by Alfred Robaut in his catalogue of works by Delacroix. Two further drawings of greyhounds were also illustrated by Robaut; one a study of a single hound in profile formerly in the collection of Philippe Burty and the other a sheet of studies of greyhounds formerly in the collection of Georges Villot. A pencil study of what might be the same dog is in the Louvre.

The present sheet was once part of the extensive collection of drawings by Delacroix assembled by the French geologist Louis de Launay (1860-1938). De Launay was a lifelong friend of the Delacroix scholar and collector Etienne Moreau-Nélaton, and, like him, as a great admirer of the artist and inspired to collect his drawings. Louis de Launay assembled a large group of drawings by Delacroix, most of which were dispersed at auctions in Paris and London between 1979 and 1991. Five volumes of letters written by Moreau-Nélaton to Louis de Launay were recently acquired from the latter’s descendants by the Louvre. De Launay is said to have once noted that, ‘I always bitterly regretted not being Alfred de Vigny, Delacroix or Berlioz.’

Provenance:
The artist’s studio, Paris, with the atelier stamp (Lugt 838a) at the lower right of the sheet
The Delacroix studio sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 22-27 February 1864
Louis de Launay, Paris and Vilhémon, near Bessé-en-Braye
Thence by descent to a private collection, Paris, until 2008.

Literature:
Edwart Vignot, ‘Actualité des ventes: 2008-2009, deux années pour mieux comparer…’, Bulletin de la Société des amis du Musée national Eugène Delacroix, No.8, 2010, p.68.

Eugène DELACROIX

A Bugler on Horseback, Accompanied by a Hound

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