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

Three men restraining a horse

Jean-Louis-André-Théodore Gericault (Rouen 1791-1824 Paris)
Three men restraining a horse
black chalk, pencil, pen and brown ink heightened with white
8 7/8 x 12¾ in . (225 x 321 mm.)
Mahérault Collection.
Jean Dollfus, Paris.
P.O. Dubaut (L. 2103b).
M. Marillier.
'Cronache parigine', Emporium, December 1937, p. 674.
P. Dubaut, 'Les dessins de Gericault, Dibutade I', special edition of the Bulletin des amis des musées de Poitiers, Poitiers, 1954, pp. 41-3.
G. Bazin, Théodore Gericault. Etude critique, documents et catalogue raisonné, Paris, 1990, IV, no. 1400 (as auteur inconnu).
W. Whitney, Gericault in Italy, New Haven and London, 1997, pp. 103 and 105.
Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Les artistes français en Italie, 1934, no. 499.
Paris, Galerie Maurice Gobin, Gericault, 1935, no. 19
Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Gericault, 1937, no. 112.

Lot Essay

This is a study in reverse for the group to the right of Gericault's La Mossa painted in 1817 and now in the Walker Art Gallery in Baltimore (G. Bazin, op. cit., nos. 1343).
Professor Lorenz Eitner has confirmed the attribution, pointing out that this drawing belongs to a group of studies, copies, and tracings that record a figure group which the artist planned to use in the foreground of his Start of the Race. The group was originally more stylized, showing a rearing horse being restrained by two costumed grooms at his head and two others at his rump, as it is described by Clément in his catalogue (Gericault. Etude biographique et critique avec le catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre du maître, Paris, 1867, pp. 340-341). Clément lists three other versions of the group, including the present drawing, while neither Bazin nor Grunchec accept the drawing's authenticity, and W. Whitney expresses his reservations on the basis of a photograph.
The lively bozzetto is considered autograph by Eitner, who comments on its vibrant 'pencil pentimenti and position changes on the legs of several figures' (letter of 14 October 1998).
The Baltimore picture of La Mossa, or La course des chevaux barbes was painted in Rome by Gericault and was inspired by the famous race that took place each year on the Corso in Rome during the carnival. Gericault executed no less than eight painted sketches on the theme and a great number of drawings.

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