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    Description

    EUGÈNE DELACROIX (French 1798-1863)
    Musicians (after a detail from Veronese's The Marriage at Cana), circa 1820
    Oil on canvas
    9 x 12 inches (23.5 x 31 cm)
    Initialed to stretcher in graphite: E.D.

    Provenance:
    Delacroix's posthumous sale, February 1864, probably part of lot 176 ("Six toiles contenant des fragments d'études d'après Rubens, Véronèse, Murillo, etc." without dimensions), to Gaultron, 18 francs;
    Purchased (?) by Bernheim-Jeune from Cher fils, 10 June 1924;
    Sold by Bernheim-Jeune to Dru, 25 May 1925 (Archives Bernheim-Jeune: "Copie des musiciens d'après le Tintoret," 26 x 27 cm.);
    Private collection, circa 1946-86 (Geneva, Switzerland);
    Acquired by the present owners in 1987

    Literature:
    Inv. Delacroix, no. 78 ("1 tableau représentant un fragment des 'Noces de Cana,' d'après Véronèse, par [M. Delacroix], 15F.") or no. 198 (same description and valuation);
    Lee Johnson, The paintings of Eugène Delacroix. A Critical Catalogue, vol. VI (The Public Decorations and their Sketches, supplement and plates), Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1989, ill. plate 70; cat. no. 13a, p. 199.

    An important facet of Delacroix's personal artistic education and inspiration involved making oil sketches after the Old Masters. The artist whose works he studied and emulated most passionately through this process of copying was Rubens. After Rubens, Delacroix was particularly drawn to the work of the Venetians: Titian, Veronese, and Cariani (whose work was given to Bellini at the time). As this sketch after Veronese's sumptuous Marriage At Cana in the Louvre [inv. no. RF119] demonstrates, Delacroix frequently studied fragments of large, ambitious multi-figural compositions in relatively small formats. In this intimate canvas Delacroix devoted his attention to a dense group of seated figures, a variety of musical instruments displayed at a range of jaunty angles, and even a pair of dogs-all of which the great Venetian painter had managed to compress convincingly into a very shallow space. Delacroix seems to have been particularly fascinated with the Veronese's magical handling of the play of light on form. This is especially apparent in his attention to the marvelous curves of the bass displayed so that it is perpendicular to the picture plane. Working rapidly but with keen concentration to tonal shifts and slight differences in hue, Delacroix masterfully conveyed the essence of Veronese's painterly manner.

    Although the catalogue of Delacroix's posthumous sale of February 1864 lists only two paintings after Veronese's The Marriage at Cana [the present work and one other], there were three, all attributed to Delacroix, listed in Delacroix's inventory. Another of his artist's oil studies after Veronese's painting records Two Bearded Heads (private collection, Paris; see Lee Johnson, vol. I, 1981, cat. no, 14, p. 12; ill. vol. II, plate 11), at the same scale as the original. According to a firsthand account of Delacroix's artist friend, Charles Soulier, the former copied the motif of the bearded men by standing on the top of a tall ladder in the Grand Salon of the Louvre on June 10, 1820. The heads of the two men which captured Delacroix's interest derive from the foreground of The Marriage at Cana, just left of the instrumentalists depicted in the present study. Soulier's account is useful is providing an approximate date for this sketch as well.



    Condition Report*: relined, reinforcing significant craquelure, one minor restoration to canvas, one inch vertical repair off center top left between clusters of figures, strong colors
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2007
    24th-25th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,322

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    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

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