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.

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.”


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.
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.


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