Baron François-Pascal-Simon Gérard

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Baron François-Pascal-Simon Gérard
Study for "The Tenth of August 1792"
Black chalk on paper.
8 1/2 x 6 3/4 inches (215 x 171 mm)
Gift of Charles Ryskamp in honor of Mrs. Oscar de la Renta.

Watermark: "De Monsieur" below a star, fragment.

Baron Gérard d'Harcourt François (1770-1837), Paris; by descent through the artist's family; Colnaghi, New York; Charles Ryskamp (1928-2010), Princeton and New York.

The World Observed: Five Centuries of Drawings from the Collection of Charles Ryskamp (New York: The Pierpont Morgan Library: 2001), 66, entry by Jennifer Tonkovich.


Gérard entered the studio of the neoclassical painter Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825) in 1786 and remained under his direction throughout the Revolution, eventually emerging as one of his most talented students. To protect his favored pupil during the Terror, David arranged for Gérard's nomination to the Revolutionary Tribunal 1793. Although Gérard began exhibiting at the Salon as early as 1791, his career did not flourish until after 1798, when he began receiving imperial commissions. Following the Restoration, Gérard became peintre du roi to Louis XVIII, and was elected a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts.
This drawing is one of several figure studies for Gérard's painting "The Tenth of August 1792" (Le 10 Aôut 1792), a modello for which is in the Louvre (inv. no. 26725). The painting was never completed: a large unfinished canvas, squared for transfer, is in a private collection in London. An oil study for the composition was exhibited in 1992 (on paper mounted to panel; Munich and New York 1992, p. 14, repr.), and several studies for individual figures are extant. [1] The present sheet is a study for the seated male deputy at the lower right of the composition. Although he is depicted as a youth in this drawing, the corresponding figure in the study at the Louvre is in the same pose and attire but has the features of an older man.
Gérard submitted the composition in 1794 to a contest sponsored by the Committee of Public Safety (Comité de salut publique). He shared first prize with François-André Vincent (1746-1816) and received a commission for a full-scale painting of the subject formally titled "The Moment when the People, entering the place of the sessions of the Legislative Body, asks loudly for the dismissal of the tyrant" (Le Moment oû le Peuple, pénétrant dans le lieu des séances du Corps Législatif, demande à grands cris la destitution du tyran). This was Gérard's first official commission and marked his public debut as an artist. The scene depicts a moment from the eventful day of 10 August 1792, when a group of agitated revolutionaires interrupted the Assembly and confronted the secretaries of the Séance, revealing precious objects stolen from the royal apartments of the Tuileries as they demanded the deposition of the monarchy.
[1] Galerie Arnold-Livie, Munich, and Jill Newhouse, New York, Baron François Gérard (1770-1837): Exhibition and sale of Paintings and Drawings, 1992.

Associated names: 

Ryskamp, Charles, former owner.