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Saturday 1 August 2020

Alfred Robaut’s lithograph, “Jacob Wrestling with the Angel,” 1864, after Eugène Delacroix

Alfred Robaut (1830–1909)

“Jacob Wrestling with the Angel,” 1864, published in Paris by Dusacq & Cie (fl.c1864–1869) after Eugène Delacroix’s (aka Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix) (1798–1863) 1850 chalk on tracing paper  study (see for Delacroix’s oil and wax on plaster, “Jacob Wrestling with the Angel,” completed in 1861, in the Saints-Anges' chapel of the Church of Saint-Sulpice, Paris.

Lithograph (possibly a transfer lithograph [autographie]) printed in black ink on ochre coloured chine collé (China) paper laid onto a support sheet after the removal from the original (but damaged) backing sheet. Note that Alfred Robaut encouraged artists such as Delacroix and Corot to use the transfer process of lithography, as this technique gave artists the freedom to draw on paper that could later be transferred to lithographic stones, rather than the artists having to work directly on problematically heavy limestone plates.

Size: (irregular sheet) 55.8 x 37.9 cm.
The Rijksmuseum offers a description of this print:

Ashley Dunn, Assistant Curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints at the Met offers the following description of the Delacroix’s design underpinning this lithograph:
“In Delacroix's design, Jacob and the angel appear in the shallow foreground locked in combat at lower left. A grove of tall trees rises dramatically behind them; the thick, overlapping trunks echo their intertwined bodies. Through a clearing on the lower right, a cluster of figures suggests the flock of sheep and caravan that Jacob accompanied before his encounter with the angel”

For those unfamiliar with the subject portrayed in this lithograph, the following account of Genesis (32:22–28) may be helpful:
“That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

Condition: very good impression but with many small restorations (e.g. there is watercolour infilling along a break in the centrefold and other hairline fractures) and the whole tissue-thin sheet has been removed from its damaged original support sheet and is relined with a support of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.

I am selling this graphically impressive and very large lithograph of Delacroix’s chalk study of one of his most famous compositions, for AU$292 in total (currently US$1208.63/EUR177.17/GBP159.46 at the time of posting this print) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world (but not, of course, any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries).

If you are interested in purchasing this rare lithograph—so rare that I have found only a single copy of it in any of the major museum repositories (viz. the Rijksmuseum)!—please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

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