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    Sale 2134

    Old Master and 19th Century Drawings

    29 January 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 78

    Jean-Louis-André-Théodore Géricault (Rouen 1791-1824 Paris)

    The sleeping fishmonger, subsidiary studies for the same subject (recto); Five studies of women (verso)

    Price Realised  

    Jean-Louis-André-Théodore Géricault (Rouen 1791-1824 Paris)
    The sleeping fishmonger, subsidiary studies for the same subject (recto); Five studies of women (verso)
    with number '4'
    pencil (recto); red chalk and pencil (verso), fragmentary watermark coat-of-arms, twice encircled with 'TIMBRE'
    8 1/8 x 11½ in. (206 x 293 mm.); and the lithograph of the same subject


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    On 10 April 1820, Géricault and his friend Charles-Toussaint Charlet embarked for England in order to exhibit his Raft of the Medusa in London at The Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly. The exhibit proved to be a critical as well as a commercial success (each visitor had to pay one shilling). One of Géricault's preocupations on that trip lay in the observation of English daily life which he recorded in lively sketches characterized by a subtle mixture of realism and moral undertone. From his many studies Géricault developed compositions that he intended for lithographs.
    The present drawing is a study for The sleeping fish seller (Delteil 24). A fishmonger, dozing behind his counter, is being teased by street urchins (one is imitating him sleeping, another intends to remove his hat) while a female customer looks on. There are a few differences between the drawing and the print, most notably the disappearance of the little girl pointing at the dog and the addition of a woman seen from behind smoking a pipe and holding a basket on her head (it seems that this figure was not invented by Géricault but by Charlet). The lady with hooded cape seen from the back by the fishmonger's stall is further studied on the verso as well as on the recto of the present drawing, observed from three different angles. Another study, for the fish on the counter, is in the Musée Condé, Chantilly (Bazin, op. cit., no. 2193).
    The sleeping fish seller is one of Géricault's rare experiments in making a so-called pen lithograph. For this he brought with him to London sheets of autographic cards (stiff paper treated on one side with a water-soluble film of sizing). On this he drew in pen and lithographic ink and the image was then transferred to a prepared stone and then inked for printing. The process had the advantage of being both inexpensive and easily transportable. Unfortunately, the support is fragile and does not allow the production of many impressions so Géricault quickly abandoned the technique after executing eight lithographs of this kind. The drawing on autographic card for the The sleeping fish seller was sold at Christie's, London, 22 May 1997, lot 14.
    The present work carries the stamp of Pierre Dubaut (1886-1968), one of the most discerning collectors of Gericault's work. So richly elaborated with the pencil, this drawing offers testimony of the artist's remarkable talent in capturing with both realism and tenderness the daily lives and expressions of his contemporaries.
    This lot is sold with a lithograph of the same subject.

    Provenance

    From an album belonging to Général de Brack.
    Pierre Dubaut (L.2103b).
    Walter Goetz, and by descent.


    Literature

    K. Berger, Géricault und sein Werk, Vienna, 1952, pl. 65.
    A. Del Guercio, Géricault, Milan, 1963, p.149, pl. 76.
    K. Berger, Géricault et son oeuvre, 1968, pp.84-101, figs. 69, 141, 180.
    K. Smith, 'Was Ingres a Portrait Lithographer', Nouvelles de l'estampe, July-August 1973, pp. 10-14, note 28.
    P. Grunchec, Géricault, exhib. cat., Rome, Villa Medici, 1979-1980, under no. 107, fig. A.
    Géricault, tout l'oeuvre grave et pièces en rapport, exhib. cat., Rouen, 1981-82, under no. 40.
    L. Eitner, Géricault, His Life and Work, Ithaca, 1983, p. 220, fig. 187 (listed incorrectly as in the collection of the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, R.I., as confused with Le joueur de barberie).
    Géricault, exhib. cat., Kamakura and elsewhere, 1987-88, under no. E40.
    G. Bazin, Géricault, Paris, 1997, VII, nos. 2192-3, ill.


    Exhibited

    Paris, Bernheim-Jeune, Géricault, 1937, no. 150.
    London, Institut français, London Seen by French Painters, 1946, no. 50.
    Paris, Galerie Bignou, Géricault, cet inconnu (1791-1824), 1950, no. 59.
    London, Marlborough Fine Art, Géricault, 1952, no. 59.
    Winterthur, Kunstmuseum, Géricault, 1953, no. 206.
    Paris, Galerie Claude Aubry, Géricault dans les collections privées françaises: exposition organisée au bénéfice de la Société des amis du Louvre, 1964, no. 81.
    Paris, Grand Palais, Géricault, 1991-92, no. 224, fig. 338.