The Great Yawner

Lequeu inserted an additional a into the French word bailleur (yawner) identifying this man with his mouth agape, perhaps to echo the sound of a prolonged yawn. The artist was likely familiar with contemporary depictions of the subject, such as a 1783 self-portrait by Joseph Ducreux (1735–1802) in which he is shown midyawn and Franz Xaver Messerschmidt’s 1781–83 bronze head of a yawning man.

Jean-Jacques Lequeu (1757–1826)
The Great Yawner Pen and black ink, brown and gray wash, red chalk
Bibliothèque nationale de France, Departement des Estampes et de la photographie