Vineyards by a track and a farmhouse on a hill

Vineyards by a track and a farmhouse on a hill
with inscription ‘B. 917/ Delacroix’ (verso)
graphite, watercolour
7 7/8 x 9 in. (20 x 22.8 cm)
The artist’s estate (L. 838a); Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 17-29 February 1864, part of lot 587 or lot 604.
Possibly with Paul Cassirer & Co., Amsterdam; from whom acquired on 23 April 1924 for 2500 guilders by
Franz Wilhelm Koenigs (1881-1941), Haarlem; thence by descent to the present owners.
A. Robaut, L’Œuvre complet de Eugène Delacroix, Paris, 1885, part of no. 1672 or 1814.
L. Johnson, Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863). Paintings, Drawings and Prints from North American Collections, exhib. cat., New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1991, p. 144, under no. 72.
J.O. Bouffier, ‘The Tours Sketchbook of Delacroix, Eugène’, Metropolitan Museum Journal, XXIX, 1994, p. 139, ill.
Washington, National Gallery of Art, and elsewhere, French Drawings. Masterpieces from Five Centuries, 1952-1953, no. 130.
Tours, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Delacroix en Touraine, 1998, no. 19, ill. (entry by J.O. Bouffier).

Brought to you by

Laetitia Masson
Laetitia Masson Specialist

Check the condition report or get in touch for additional information about this

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

Since the acquisition by his brother, General Charles-Henry Delacroix, of a house near Tours, Eugène Delacroix visited the region several times to stay with him. In 1828, inspired by the region, Delacroix filled a sketchbook, now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with landscapes of the Touraine, the banks of the Loire, and some of the monuments of the city, such as the towers of the cathedral of Saint-Gatien (inv. 69.165.2; see J.O. Bouffier in exhib. cat., Tours, op. cit., no. 15, ill.). Folio 12 of this album was used as the basis for the present watercolour, which represents the undulating landscape around Saint- Avertin, a few kilometres from Tours, on the bank of the Cher, as a mosaic of warm colours. The New York sketch, made from life, is not very detailed, but includes written indications of the location of vineyards (‘vignx’ and ‘x’), and colour annotations (j for ‘jaune’, yellow; r for ‘rouge’, red; v for ‘vert’, green; b for ‘bleu’, blue), apparently made with the more finished drawing offered here in mind. The slightly squarer format of the latter opens up the composition, in contrast to the tighter mise-en-page of the sketch.

Four other watercolours can be connected with sketches in the New York sketchbook; one is at the Musée Bonnat-Helleu in Bayonne, the three others in private collections (J.O. Bouffier in exhib. cat., Tours, op. cit., nos. 16, 17, 18, ill., fig. 13). They illustrate Delacroix’s working method in representing nature, which he discusses more broadly in his Journal on 12 October 1853: ‘is it the purpose of imitation to please the imagination, or is it merely intended to obey the demands of a strange kind of conscience which allows an artist to be satisfied with himself when he has copied the model before his eyes as faithfully as possible?’ (Journal, M. Hannoosh, ed., I, Paris, 2009, p. 689; English translation by L. Norton quoted from The Journal of Eugène Delacroix, London, 1995, pp. 209-210). Naturally, Delacroix, the Romantic pur sang, believes that the artist should abandon truth to let his inner poet speak and ‘render a true impression of the subject’ (Delacroix, op. cit., 2009, I, p. 688; translation quoted from Delacroix, op. cit., 1995, p. 208), as he brilliantly did in the present work with its autumnal mood and warm light.

More from Old Master and British Drawings and Watercolours including a Fine Collection of Old Master Prints

View All
View All