Eugène Delacroix

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Eugène Delacroix
Study for the Agriculture Frieze in the Salon du Roi, Palais Bourbon
Pencil on wove paper.
8 1/2 x 11 3/4 inches (209 x 299 mm)
Gift of Roberta J. M. Olson and Alexander B.V. Johnson.

In the spring of 1833, Delacroix received his first commission for a major decorative program when he was enlisted to decorate the ceiling of the Salon du Roi (Salle du Trône) at the Palais Bourbon (Assemblée Nationale/Chamber of Deputies). As Lee Johnson noted, Delacroix's preparatory studies for the project brought together several influences in his work, including Renaissance and baroque painting and his experiences in North Africa.
Delacroix spent 1834 painting the ceiling in oils mixed with wax for a matte finish, nearly completing the entire program by the start of 1835. According to Delacroix's later account of the project, written in 1848 and published in 1878, he chose the themes "to evoke the living forces of the State." The principal subjects are Justice, Industry, War, and Agriculture. Most of his studies are preserved in the Louvre, some with extensive annotations as he planned and executed the project.
The Morgan's sheet of sketches relates to the frieze devoted to Agriculture. Some figures are for the groupings between the first and second of the three arches. At lower center, a reclining figure seen from behind captures the general pose of a female figure in pink and green robes who rests her water pitcher next to a garland of fruit and flowers. At upper center, the turning figure with one leg lifted and bent is an idea for the figure of Pan and the cluster of his companions. The figure at upper right, reclining and playing the pipes does not seem to have been used, or else he was transformed into the bare-chested pipe player seen frontally at the far right.


Watermark: Letters "LJ" on wove paper.
Inscribed at upper left in graphite, "óutre ou cheveau"; atelier stamp in red ink at lower right (Lugt S. 838a).

The artist's atelier (Lugt S. 838a); Delacroix atelier sale, Paris, F. Petit and Tedesco, 17-29 February 1864, probably 1 of 35 in lot 250; Galerie Claude Aubry, Paris; Colnaghi, New York; sale, New York, Christie's, 23 February 1983, lot 9, repr. (bought in); Roberta J. M. Olson and Alexander B.V. Johnson, New York.
Associated names: 

Aubry, Claude M., former owner.
Johnson, Alexander B. V., former owner.
Olson, Roberta J. M., former owner.


Ryskamp, Charles, ed. Twentieth Report to the Fellows of the Pierpont Morgan Library, 1981-1983. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1984, p. 253.

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