Adolphe-Gustave Binet

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Adolphe-Gustave Binet
Construction of the Eiffel Tower
Black fabricated chalk, pen and brown ink, watercolor, with white opaque watercolor, on blue wove paper altered to light brown.
17 15/16 x 12 9/16 inches (456 X 319 mm)
Purchased on the Baker Fund.

Inscribed, signed and dated at lower right, in pen and brown ink, "à mon ami / Louis de Fourcaud / Adolphe Binet / 1888."

Louis de Fourcaud (1851-1914); W.M. Brady and Co., New York; Charles Ryskamp, New York, 1997; his sale, New York, Sotheby's, 25 January 2011, lot. no. 257.

William Griswold et al., The World Observed: Five Centuries of Drawings from the Collection of Charles Ryskamp, New York, 2001, p. 126, no. 114.


Signed and dated 1888, the present sheet depicts workers scaling a stairway to the upper level of the Eiffel Tower just one year before the monument was completed for the Exposition Universelle. Binet emphasizes the tower's overwhelming scale in the upper register of the sheet as one's eye becomes lost in the complex web of ladders and beams rendered in heavy strokes of black conté crayon. Light pierces the weblike steel structure, emphasizing the majestic view from within.
The inscription at the lower right corner indicates that Binet gave the sheet to his friend Louis de Fourcaud (1851-1914), an art historian and professor at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.

Associated names: 

Fourcaud, L. de (Louis), 1851-1914, former owner.
Ryskamp, Charles, former owner.