Eugène Delacroix

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Eugène Delacroix
Harbor at Dieppe
Watercolor and opaque watercolor, over graphite, on light brown paper.
9 5/16 x 12 3/16 inches (237 x 313 mm)
Bequest of John S. Thacher.

Delacroix spent several weeks during the late summer of 1854 in Dieppe, a port city northwest of Paris on the French coast. This view of the harbor is dated 7 September, and the artist's journal contains a long entry for the day. His caretaker Jenny le Guillou went for a morning swim while he took a long walk, and attended a mass at Saint Jacques, where a chorus from the Pyrenees sang unaccompanied by music. He records, "Came home after the mass; did a small unfinished watercolor of the port filled with curious green water; I was in a bad mood caused by an infernal cigar that I had picked up. Noted the contrast, on that water, of the very black ships, the red flags, etc." He then read some of Balzac's "Eugenie Grandet," which he found dull, took a second walk along the Cours Bourbon, and spent time with his friend, the philosopher Paul Chenavard.
The black ships contrast with the bright water and the white chalk cliffs seen in the distance, called La Pollet, which Delacroix enjoyed visiting on his strolls. While the inscription in wash below the date has been read as "Chartreux," which some have in the past read (likely erroneously) as a reference to Marseille, it may also read in part "chant" as a sort of aide-memoire to the experience of that particular day.


Inscribed in brush and brown watercolor at lower right, " jeudi / Chartreux"; atelier stamp in red ink at lower right corner (Lugt S. 838a).
Watermark: none.

The artist's atelier; Delacroix atelier sale, Paris, 17-20 February 1864, possibly part of lot 600; sale, Paris, Palais Galliera, 29 June 1962, lot 5, repr.; Brame, Paris, 1967; John S. Thacher (1904-1982), Washington, D.C.
Associated names: 

Thacher, John S., former owner.


Ryskamp, Charles, ed. Twenty-First Report to the Fellows of the Pierpont Morgan Library, 1984-1986. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1989, p. 335.
Denison, Cara D. French Master Drawings in the Pierpont Morgan Library. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1993, no. 112, repr.

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