Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Robaut’s lithograph, “The Education of Achilles”, after Delacroix’s pastel drawing


Alfred-Ernest Robaut (aka Alfred Robaut) (1830–1909)
 “The Education of Achilles”, 1879, printed by Lemercier & Cie in Paris, after the pastel drawing by Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863) in the J. Paul Getty Museum collection (http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/objects/197/eugene-delacroix-the-education-of-achilles-french-1862/). This subject is also featured in Delacroix’s painting on a pendentive supporting the cupola dedicated to Poetry in the library of the Chambre des Députés at the Assemblée Nationale in Paris. There are also other drawings of this subject, no doubt preparatory studies for the painting; see, for example, Delacroix’s ink study (1845) at Sotheby’s auction (06 February 2011]): http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2014/impressionist-modern-art-day-sale-l14004/lot.114.html.

Lithograph of heavy wove paper with wide margins.
Size: (sheet) 53.5 x 63.7 cm; (image borderline) 37.1 x 45.7 cm
Inscribed within the image (lower centre) “Eng. Delacroix. 1862”
Lettered outside the image borderline: (upper centre) “EUGENE DELACROIX”; (lower left) “Lithographié par Alfred Robaut (Salon de 1879)”; (lower right in two lines) “Grandur de l’original, qui appartient à Mr. Petit / Imp. Lemercier & Cie. Paris”

Condition: this is a large and very rare print (note: that this print is not in the collection of four major museums [viz. The British Museum, Rijksmuseum, The Met, or even The J. Paul Getty Museum that hold the original pastel on which this print is based). The impression is crisp and well-printed. There are a few minor dot-size abrasions (restored) and the sheet has a vertical mark (a rub of dust?) in the margin near the lower-left corner. There are also a few other minor handling marks, but overall the print is in very good condition for its large size and considerable age (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, stains or foxing). 

I am selling this magnificent and very large lithograph after Delacroix for the total cost of AU$228 (currently US$164.87/EUR158.67/GBP133.59 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this amazing image of a Centaur teaching the young Achilles how to hunt, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy. 


For those with a romantic leaning, few images could be more satisfying than this one from the mythological realm of a centaur giving hunting tips to the young Achilles astride his back.

Certainly the romantic appeal of this scene was not lost on the novelist, George Sand, as Robaut’s lithograph is a graphic translation of a pastel drawing by Delacroix (shown above with permission by The J. Paul Getty Museum’s open content program) given as a gift by Delacroix to the very famous novelist who wrote:  “It is beautiful, even more beautiful, I believe, than the painting. [The painting is featured on a pendentive supporting the cupola dedicated to Poetry in the library of the Chambre des Députés at the Assemblée Nationale in Paris.] I am enraptured, dear friend" (see more information about Delacroix’s gift of the pastel to George Sand and details about the pastel at: http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/objects/197/eugene-delacroix-the-education-of-achilles-french-1862/?dz=0.5000,0.3654,0.77)

Beyond the attraction of seeing Chiron in action with a very naked Achilles—a reliable source tells me that Chiron is the smartest of all the centaurs—what I love about this print is the painterly handling of the image. What I mean by the term, “painterly”, is that Robaut has applied the waxy lithographic crayon in his original drawing onto the limestone printing plate in a soft manner so that the strokes resemble loosely laid brushstrokes. Robaut could have used washes of tusche (a greasy ink) to achieve a similar result but he used crayon as the graininess of the crayon is a better match for simulating the gritty appearance of Delacroix’s pastel drawing that he copied.







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