Ferdinand-Victor-EugŠne Delacroix (French, 1798-1863)

Lot 134: Ferdinand-Victor-EugŠne Delacroix (French, 1798-1863)


June 20, 2002, 12:00 AM EST
London, United Kingdom
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Description: Cromwell at Windsor Castle signed 'Eug Delacroix' (lower left) oil on canvas 133/4 x 103/4 in. (34.8 x 27.2 cm.) Painted in 1828 PROVENANCE douard, duc de Fitz-James (by 1831). Bernheim aŒn‚; his sale, Brussels, 18 March 1884, lot 55. Rothschild, purchased at the above sale (FFr5,200); H“tel Drouot, 1 April 1889, lot 24 (unsold at FFr2,000). Alfred Robaut, acquired from Rothschild (through Berheim-Jeune in 1889). P.A.Cheramy, acquired from the above (FFr7,000); his sale 5 May 1908, lot 166 (illustrated, and wrongly described as the sketch for the painting shown at the Salon of 1831). Simon Oppenheimer, purchased from the above sale (FFr3,000). O.Gerstenberg, Berlin. Dr. Fritz Nathan and Dr. Peter Nathan, Zurich, acquired from the above in circa 1966 (no-C1394 on a label on the frame). Mr. & Mrs. Robert Benjamin, Great Neck, New York, acquired from the above by 1969; Christie's London, 3 July 1973, lot 3 (illustrated in colour). Purchased from the above sale by the present owner (œ21,000). LITERATURE L. P. Peisse, ' Salon de 1831', Le National, 30 May 1831. A. Jal, Salon de 1831. Ebauches critiques, Paris, 1831, p. 131. C. P. Landon, Annales du Mus‚e et de l'cole moderne des Beaux-Arts. Salon de 1831...par Ambroise Tardieu pour servir de suite et de compl‚ment aux Salons Landon, Paris, 1831, p. 47. A. Moreau, E. Delacroix et son oeuvre, Paris, 1873, p. 171. A. Robaut, E. Chesneau and F. Calmettes, L'Oeuvre complet de EugŠne Delacroix, peintures, dessins, gravures, lithographies, Paris, 1885, no. 320 p. 483. L. Rouart, 'La Collection de M. Cheramy', Les Arts, April 1907, p. 22, no. 64 (illustrated p. 20). J. Meier-Graefe and E. Klossowski, La Collection Cheramy..., Munich, 1908, p. 91f, no. 165 (illustrated). E. Moreau-N‚laton, Delacroix racont‚ par lui-mˆme, vol. I, Paris, 1916, pp. 102 and 118 (illustrated fig. 71). R. Escholier, Delacroix, peintre, graveur, ‚crivan, vol. I. Paris, 1926-9, p. 276. A. Joubin, Correspondance g‚n‚rale d'EugŠne Delacroix, vol. I, Paris, 1935, p. 266, n. 3. L. Johnson ed., Delacroix, Exhibition Catalogue, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 1962-3, p. 10 and no. 2. L. Johnson, 'EugŠne Delacroix et les Salons. Documents in‚dits au Louvre', Revue du Louvre, XVI, 1966, p. 220. K. Roberts, review of Lefevre Gallery Exhibition, The Burlington Magazine, vol. CVIII, 1966, p. 645 (illustrated p. 644, fig. 55). L. Johnson, The Paintings of EugŠne Delacroix, A Critical Catalogue, 1816-1831, vol. I, Oxford, 1981, pp. 126-7, no. 129 (illustrated, vol. II, pl. 113). M. S‚rullaz, et al., Mus‚e du Louvre, Cabinet des dessins, Inventaire g‚n‚ral des dessins, cole fran‡ais, Dessins d'EugŠne Delacroix, vol. II, Paris, 1984, p. 346. L. Johnson, The Paintings of EugŠne Delacroix, A Critical Catalogue, 1832-1863, vol. III, Oxford, 1986, supplement to vol. I, p. 315. B. Jobert, Delacroix, Princeton, 1998, pp. 115-116 (illustrated fig. 84). EXHIBITION Paris, Soci‚t‚ des Amis des Arts, 1828. Paris, Salon 1831, no. 514 (mentioned in the catalogue as owned by the Duc de Fitz-James). London, Lefevre Gallery, XIX and XX Century French Painting and Drawings, November-December 1966. Nancy, Mus‚e des Beaux-Arts, EugŠne Delacroix et la Bataille de Nancy, November 1978-February 1979. Zurich, Kunsthaus Zrich, Ausstellung EugŠne Delacroix, 4 June-23 August 1987, no. 33. Connecticut, Yale Center for British Art New Haven, Richard Parkes Bonnington: 'On the Pleasure of Painting', 13 November 1991-19 January 1992, no. 142. NOTES The subject for this work is taken from Sir Walter Scott's novel, Woodstock, first published in 1826. Accepted for the Paris Salon of 1831, along with the famous Liberty Leading the People, this scene was described in the official catalogue as, 'Ayant retourn‚ par hasard un portrait de Charles I e r, il [Cromwell] tombe … cette vue dans une m‚ditation profonde; il oublie qu'il a un t‚moin qui l'observe: c'est un espion du parti royaliste qui a obtenu accŠs auprŠs de lui. ( Woodstock, de Walter Scott)'. The episode is from Chapter VIII in Scott's novel: Wildrake [the cavalier] stood silent, inactive, and almost a terrified spectator, while Cromwell, assuming a firm sternness of eye and manner, as one who compels himself to look on what some strong internal feeling renders painful and disgustful to him, proceeded...to comment on the portrait of the late King...'that Antonio Vandyke - what a power he has! Steel may mutilate, warriors may waste and destroy - still the King stands uninjured by time'. ( Woodstock, Everyman edn. 1969, p. 99). French interest in British historical themes and literature, and in the works of Sir Walter Scott in particular, reached its apog‚e in this period. Indeed, the works of Sir Walter Scott represented a third of all novels published in France between 1820 and 1830 (B. Jobert, op. cit., p. 114). For the painters of the Romantic School, and their patrons, Scott's novels provided many rich and varied themes for depiction. Delacroix was well acquainted with Scott's novels, however, he may have been inspired to paint Cromwell at Windsor Castle having seen one of the two French stage adaptations of Woodstock performed in Paris in March 1828. A summary sketch for the pose of Cromwell with three alternative poses for Wildrake, some very close to the final stance, are on a sheet of studies in the Art Institute of Chicago. Delacroix had first depicted a scene from Scott in 1823 with Rebecca and the Wounded Ivanhoe (fig. 1), however, after 1825 he painted a number of these small format paintings, which in their size, subject and composition, are a distinct and interesting group apart from the rest of Delacroix's oeuvre. Indeed, they are stylistically very close to the works of Richard Parkes Bonnington (1802-28), with whom Delacroix became friends in 1818. Together, Delacroix and Bonnington, explored a number of themes with literary references and shared a similar handling of colour and composition. Their paintings were highly sought after on the Anglo-French market, indeed, most were painted for private collections and were not destined for the Salon, which makes the present work very unusual. It is interesting to note, however, that Paul Delaroche (1797-1856) also submitted a painting on this theme to the 1831 Salon (no. 2720). Shortly after, Delacroix painted a large watercolour entitled Cromwell before the Coffin of Charles I (Robaut no. 368) which was intended as an improvement on Delaroche's interpretation of the same subject and further illustrative of the energy Delacroix was focusing on this material. Cromwell at Windsor Castle obviously appealed to the royalist douard, duc de Fitz-James (1776-1838), for whom Delacroix painted this work, or to whom he sold it soon after its completion, since it was noted as being in the Duc's possession in the 1831 Salon catalogue. As a direct descendent of an illegitimate son of King James II, the Duke of Berwick, and therefore of Stuart ancestory, douard, duc de Fitz-James would have attached special importance to this painting. Indeed, he may well have identified himself with the royalist spectator, Wildrake, who silently peers over Cromwell's shoulder in the direction of the portrait of the ill-fated Stuart, Charles I.
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