Hubert François Gravelot

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Hubert François Gravelot
Sappho Fainting at the Disappearance of Phaon's Ship
ca. 1766
Brush, black and gray wash over graphite, on paper; incised with the stylus.
5 7/8 x 3 1/2 inches (146 x 89 mm)
Gift of John F. Fleming.

Inscribed below, "Ton Vaisseau sur les Mers s'enfuit au gré des vents Le soufle de la mort glace aussitot mes sens"; signed by the artist at lower right, "H. Gravelot inven."

Marie-Joseph-Colombe-Henri-Denis Beccaria de Pavie, Marquis de Fourquevaux (1762-1841), Fourquevaux, France; Emmanuel Bocher (1835-1919), Paris; Léon Olry-Roederer (1869-1932), Paris; A.S.W. Rosenbach (1876-1952), Philadelphia; John Fleming (1910-1987), New York.

Kraemer, Ruth S. "Drawings by Gravelot in the Morgan Library." Master drawings, XX (Spring 1982), p. 10, no. 19.


This sheet is Gravelot's preparatory design for an engraved illustration in A.M. Blin de Sainmore's "Lettre de Sapho à Phaon" (Paris, 1766). Sappho is shown swooning on the shore, supported by a female companion, as the ship carrying her lover Phaon sails away. The engraving after this drawing was executed by Jacques Aliamet (1726-1788). As Kraemer recorded, “There is a copy of Aliamet's engraving in the Morgan Library's 1806 edition of Ovid's Opera printed in Parma by Aloysius Mussi (Vol. I, Epistle XV, Sappho's letter to Phaon); it is inserted between pp.124 and 125 among a series of sixteen neo-classical lithographs by Girodet-Trioson (1767-1824) depicting the life of Sappho.”

Associated names: 

Fourquevaux, Joseph de Beccarie de Pavie, marquis de, 1762-1841, former owner.
Bocher, Emmanuel, 1835-1919, former owner.
Olry-Roederer, Léon, 1869-1932, former owner.
Rosenbach, A. S. W. (Abraham Simon Wolf), 1876-1952, former owner.
Fleming, John F. (John Francis), 1910-1987, former owner.