Nicolas Hüet, the Younger (1770–1828)
Study of the Giraffe Given to Charles X by
the Viceroy of Egypt, 1827
Watercolor and some gouache, over traces of black chalk
Signed and dated, in pen and brown ink, at lower left, hüet 1827; numbered for scale at lower right, 1/16.
10 1/16 x 7 5/8 inches (254 x 194 mm)
Purchased on the Sunny Crawford von Bülow Fund, 1978; 1994.1
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As a specialist in depicting animals, Nicolas Hüet, the son of Jean-Baptiste, was the official painter for the Musée d'Histoire Naturelle de la Ménagerie, Paris. He must have been one of the first to paint the celebrated giraffe, the belle enfant des tropiques, the first ever to be seen in France. The viceroy of Egypt presented the giraffe to Charles X in 1827. Installed at the Jardin des Plantes, it was seen by over 600,000 visitors in the first six months alone. Hüet's exquisitely worked portrait shows the giraffe in its new home with the groom who came with it and cared for it for the next eighteen years.
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