Théodore Géricault

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Théodore Géricault
Head of a Black Man
Black chalk.
9 13/16 x 6 7/8 inches (248 x 175 mm); in decorative frame: 20 3/4 x 17 1/2 x 2 3/4 inches
Thaw Collection.
Pierre Dubaut (Lugt S. 2103b); James Lord, Paris; Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw, New York.

The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, NY, "Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection", 2017. Exh. cat., no. 147, repr.
Denison, Cara D. et al. Drawings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Victor Thaw. Part II. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1985, no. 37, repr. (also in Thaw III, no. 68)
Denison, Cara D. et al. The Thaw Collection : Master Drawings and New Acquisitions. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1994, no. 68.


Watermark: illegible fragment.
In September 1817, the twenty-six-year-old Géricault began work on his epoch-defining painting Raft of the Medusa, generating hundreds of drawings and employing a wide range of models for his figure studies. Although, according to the testimony of survivors, there were no black men on the raft, Géricault included three in his painting. In this sheet, the artist combined hatching and rubbing the soft chalk to create a sculpturally modeled surface that is defined and enlivened by the fall of light. The effort of the model to hold the pose is evident in the carefully closed mouth, the flared nostrils, and the lift of his chin as he gazes at the distance. -- Exhibition Label, from "Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection"

Associated names: 

Dubaut, Pierre, former owner.
Lord, James, former owner.
Thaw, Eugene Victor, former owner.
Thaw, Clare, former owner.