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Théodore Géricault (French, 1791-1824)
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Théodore Géricault (French, 1791-1824)

Turc monté sur un cheval alezan brûlé

Théodore Géricault (French, 1791-1824)
Turc monté sur un cheval alezan brûlé
oil on canvas
14 7/8 x 18 in. (37.7 x 45.7 cm.)
Painted circa 1810.
The Artist's Studio Sale, Hôtel Bullion, Paris, 2-3 November 1824, lot 7.
Ary Scheffer, Paris; his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 15-16 March 1859, lot 24 (FFr 115).
Louis-Alexis Jamar, Paris.
Baron de Triqueti, who acquired the Jamar Collection en bloc in 1867.
Anonymous sale, Christie's, London, December 8, 1998, lot 5.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
P. Burty, 'Mouvements des Arts et de la curiosité, La Collection Ary Scheffer', Gazette des Beaux Arts, April 1859, p. 47.
C. Clément, 'Géricault', Gazette des Beaux Arts, March 1867, p. 223.
C. Clément, 'Catalogue de l'Oeuvre de Géricault', Gazette des Beaux Arts, September 1867, no. 17, p. 275 (dated between 1810 and 1812).
C. Clément, Géricault, Paris, 1868, no. 18 (dated 1811).
C. Clément, Géricault, Paris, 1879, no. 18.
M. Kolb, Ary Scheffer et Son Temps, Paris, 1937, p. 62, note 4.
K. Berger, 'Un chef-d'oeuvre de Géricault retrouvé', Bulletin de la Société de l'histoire de l'Art française, Paris, 1952, p. 205.
L. Eitner, 'The sale of Géricault's studio in 1824', Gazette des Beaux Arts, February 1959, pp. 119, 125, note 16.
L. Eitner, Géricault, an album of drawings in the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 1960, pp. 31-32.
L. Eitner, Réédition de l'ouvrage de Clément avec un supplément, Paris, 1973, p. 448, no. 18.
P. Grunchec, 'L'inventaire posthume de Théodore Géricault', Bulletin de la Société de l'Histoire de l'Art française, Paris, 1977, pp. 396, 414, note 21 (as lost; Carle Vernet's lithograph illustrated, p. 396).
P. Grunchec, Tout l'oeuvre peint de Géricault, Paris, 1978, no. 260 (Carle Vernet's lithograph illustrated).
G. Bazin, Géricault, Étude critique, documents et catalogue raisonné, vol. II, Paris, 1987, pp. 304, 460, no. 38 (as lost; Carle Vernet's lithograph illustrated), vol. III, Paris, 1989, pp. 204-205, no. 870 (as 'auteur inconnu').
L. Eitner, 'Review of G. Bazin, Théodore Géricault. Etude critique, documents, et catalogue raisonné', The Burlington Magazine, no. CXXXIII, April 1991, pp. 253-257.
B. Chenique, Triqueti et l'avant-garde du régiment Géricault, Montargis, 2007, p. 9, fig. 5 (illustrated).
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Lot Essay

This important oil sketch is a copy after a lost work by Carle Vernet, known as Mameluk. Whilst most authorities suggest that the young Géricault copied the lithograph of Vernet's picture, Lorenz Eitner has pointed out the implications that this would have for the date of the present work, as the technique of lithography was only introduced to France in 1815. Most recent authorities date the present work to circa 1810, and Eitner suggests that either the so-called lithograph may have been an engraving or, more interestingly, that Géricault made his copy from the original oil painting by Vernet, which has since been lost (letter dated 12 August 1989).

Géricault entered Carle Vernet's atelier in 1808 at the age of seventeen and stayed there until the end of 1810. The young students in the atelier were encouraged to study and copy their master's work and it is perfectly possible that Géricault came across Mameluk at this time. An early surviving sketchbook of Géricault's also reveals that he studied the work very carefully, producing a series of sketches after the picture, as well as variations on the composition, particularly in the pose of the horse.

Although a copy, Géricault imbues the composition with a greater energy than is suggested by Vernet's print and the vigour of his subject is matched by the bold handling of the paint. Indeed Turc monté sur un cheval anticipates one of Géricault's most famous works, The Charging Chasseur (also known as Portrait Équestre de M. D..., Musée du Louvre, Paris), which marked his stunning debut at the Salon of 1812.

The present picture has a particularly distinguished provenance. It was bought at the artist's studio sale in 1824 by Ary Scheffer, one of Géricault's closest friends and the painter of the celebrated Portrait de Géricault sur son lit de mort (Musée du Louvre, Paris). It was then among the masterpieces of the celebrated Jamar Collection, before entering the collection of the Baron de Triqueti (1804-1874), the sculptor who designed the doors of the Madeleine Church and the Tomb of the Duc d'Orléans (both in Paris), as well as Prince Albert's Tomb and the mosaics in the Albert Memorial Chapel in Windsor Castle. Within the Baron's rich récolte were a significant number of important drawings and prints by Géricault which are now housed in the Musée des Beaux Arts de Rouen, the artist's native town.

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