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Monday 19 April 2021

Charles Eugène Delacommune’s charcoal drawing, “Orsay, Vallée de Chevreuse”, 1884

Charles Eugène Delacommune (1845–1905)

Orsay, Vallée de Chevreuse”, 1884, a charcoal drawing signed and dated on watermarked (“MICHALLET”) Michallet cream laid paper—the same beautiful paper manufactured in the second half of the 19th century in France with its distinctive weave of parallel ridges used by Georges Seurat for his conté crayon drawings which allowed even the darkest shadow to glow and “breathe” with the paper’s texture.

Regarding the portrayed scene, I understand that its geographical location is in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, approximately 20–25 km from the centre of Paris. (My apologies if I am not correct about this). I suspect that the scene is drawn on location as the measurement of the reflections of the mountain and distant building in the stream are accurate … of course the drawing may also have been executed in the studio and if it were, I propose that the artist is well-trained about the technical aspects of perspective.

Regarding the charcoal, the intensity of the black and the lack of smudging—mindful that smudging is an expected outcome of vine charcoal caused by the loose attachment of fine charcoal dust/powder to the sized paper—suggests to my eyes that this drawing may have been executed with oiled charcoal—a drawing medium produced from saturating vine charcoal with oil—which was popular in life classes at the time. Interestingly, only advanced students tended to use this almost dust-free medium capable of strong blacks (like today’s compressed charcoal) as it did not allow for the usual revisions to a drawing unlike vine charcoal.

Size: (sheet) 37.4 x 28.7 cm.

Condition: the sheet is in very good condition for its considerable age (dated 1848) with no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, significant smudges, stains or foxing. There are remnants of previous mounting verso.

I am selling this exceptionally beautiful, signed and dated charcoal drawing, executed on the same watermarked paper (Michallet) used by Georges Seurat for his conte crayon drawings, for AU$288 (currently US$222.71/EUR186.14/GBP160.79 at the time of posting this drawing) including Express Mail (EMS) 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 very French and very romantic drawing showcasing the late 19th century spirit for drawing on location rather than in the studio, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This charcoal drawing has been sold

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