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

The coal wagon (recto); Study of a horse, with a second study of a horse (verso)

Details
Jean-Louis-André-Théodore Géricault (Rouen 1791-1824 Paris)
The coal wagon (recto); Study of a horse, with a second study of a horse (verso)
graphite, pen and gray ink, watercolor (recto), graphite (verso)
7 3/4 x 10 3/4 in. (19.6 x 27.3 cm)
Provenance
Anonymous sale; Galerie Hugo Helbing, Munich, 18 February 1930, lot 66.
M. Suzor, Paris.
Anonymous sale; Audap-Solanet, Paris, 17 June 1994, lot 137.
Jan Krugier (1928-2008), Geneva; Christie's, New York, 5 November 2013, lot 117.
Literature
A. del Guerico, Géricault, Milan, 1963, p. 150, fig. 80.
G. Bazin, Théodore Géricault. Étude critique, documents et catalogue raisonné, Paris, 1997, VII, p. 13, nos. 2168-69, ill.
Exhibited
Paris, Galerie Gobin, Géricault, 1935, no. 61.
Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., Géricault, 1937, no. 142.
Paris, Galerie Dina Vierny, Cent Aquarelles du XIXe siècle, 1947.
Paris, Galerie Bignou, Géricault cet inconnu... Aquarelles, gouaches, dessins, exposition organisée au bénéfice de la Société des amis d'Eugène Delacroix, 1950, no. 56.
London, Marlborough Fine Art, Ltd., Théodore Géricault, 1952 (cover illustration).
Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., Cent-cinquante ans de dessin, 1952-53, no. 70.
Winterthur, Kunstmuseum, Théodore Géricault, 1953, no. 191, pl. XXI.
Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., Gros, Géricault, Delacroix, 1954, no. 64.
Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin-Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Linie, Licht und Schatten: Meisterzeichnungen und Skulpturen der Sammlung Jan und Marie Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 1999, no. 78, ill.
Venice, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, The Timeless Eye. Master Drawings from the Jan and Marie Anne Krugier-Poniatowski Collection, 1999, no. 91, ill.
Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Miradas sin Tiempo: Dibujos, Pinturas y Esculturas de la Colección Jan y Marie Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, February-May 2000, no. 106, ill.
New York, Jill Newhouse Gallery, Drawings, watercolors and small oils from private collections, 2014.
New York, Michael Altman Fine Art Gallery, In Pursuit of Timeless Quality, 2016.
Sale Room Notice
We are grateful to Philippe Grunchec for confirming the attribution.

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Lot Essay

During his stays in London in 1820 and 1821, Géricault’s fascination for horses and the lower classes of a newly industrialized world led him to study coalmen and other workmen, which seemed ubiquitous in the city, often accompanying wagons drawn by horses. In a large number of works in graphite or watercolor, he immortalized their plight in compositions that often lend a monumental, dramatic quality to their hard work (Bazin, op. cit., nos. 2214-2127, 2131, 2132, 2135, 2149, 2153, 2157, 2157A, 2161, 2164-2166-2171, 2174, 2176-2190 ill.). The present sheet is among the most accomplished and powerful of these works: the wagon and its two horses are depicted at the critical moment when they make a turn, and the coalman is caught in the strenuous effort to make it happen smoothly. This scene is charged with high tension and drama that belies its daily nature, leading Germain Bazin to remark that the drawing evokes ‘almost Michelangelesque strength which recalls the drawings made during the Italian years’ (op. cit., p. 13). A lithograph from 1821 presents a very similar scene in a much less dramatic way (fig.; ibid., no. 2176, ill.).

A much more analytical and detailed study of a horse in graphite alone is depicted on the verso of the sheet.

Fig. Jean-Louis-André-Théodore Géricault, The coal wagon, lithograph, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

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