The Head of Venus Sold

Black chalk, with stumping and touches of white chalk, on pale grey paper.
215 x 170 mm. (8 1/2 x 6 3/4 in.)


This fine drawing is a study for the head of Venus in Baron Gérard’s canvas of The Judgement of Paris, painted in 1812; a work that was later destroyed by the artist and is only known today through a line engraving after the painting1. (An earlier variant of the subject, painted by Gerard in 1804, was also destroyed by the artist.) Three preparatory drawings for the painting of 1812 - a compositional study in oil and another in pencil, as well as a pencil study for the figures of Venus and Cupid - were on the New York art market in 1992, while another study for the entire composition was on the art market in 1996.

Stylistically comparable chalk drawings by Baron Gérard include a head of a young woman in the Louvre and a portrait of the artist’s young assistant, Mlle. Julie Duvidal de Montferrier, in the collection of the Musée Vivenel in Compiègne.

The attribution of the present sheet has been confirmed by Alain Latreille.

An unidentified collector’s mark stamped in red in the verso.

François Pascal Simon GERARD

The Head of Venus


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