Gericault: Drawings & Watercolors

By Thaeodore Gaericault; Klaus Berger | Go to book overview

II

THE student of French art will find that as yet no satisfactory study of Géricault's drawings and water colors has been made. To be sure, as long as eighty years ago Clément did catalogue a hundred and eighty drawings, assigning them to five different periods. But in the absence of reproductions, his conclusions are no longer intelligible to us; many works have since then changed hands and disappeared into unknown collections, and others have been discovered only since then. Furthermore, although a number of Géricault's drawings have been published, some in periodicals and some in the three biographies by Rosenthal, Régamy, and Oprescu, these are scattered, and are limited either to the studies for paintings or, largely, to works from a single period; practically none are what might be called "free" drawings. And again, although the portfolio by Martine, in a limited edition, is indeed devoted exclusively to the drawings, it includes almost nothing except the material in the two public Paris collections, the Louvre and the Ecole des Beaux Arts (fifty-two of the fifty-eight reproductions), and makes no attempt at critical discussion or chronological arrangement. The centennial exhibition and, eleven years later, Gobin's exhibition of Géricault's drawings provided the basis for a systematic study of the artist's work in this field, and we may expect that the definitive publication of the Duke of Trévise, which has now been in preparation for two decades, will catalogue all Géricault's known works and offer solutions to many of the problems connected with the drawings. But however eagerly we await the complete catalogue, we should not postpone for it the rehabilitation of Géricault as one of the great artistic figures of the nineteenth century in the field of drawing and water color.

The present volume attempts to give representative selections from each period of Géricault's brief creative life, and to bring to light as many aspects as possible of his artistic interest and imagination. The chronological arrangement, showing the development through five periods, is based (1) on our knowledge of the dates of related paintings or lithographs, (2) on the authority of Clément, (3) on inferences from the nature of the subject matter, and (4) on stylistic considerations. The material consists primarily of works from American collections, little known and for the most part unpublished. Drawings from French collections have been included in so far as they contribute to rounding out the survey.

The art form called "drawing" includes, as is well known, productions intended for

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Gericault: Drawings & Watercolors
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • I 5
  • II 10
  • Gericault Exhibitions Since 1924 18
  • Biographical Notes 19
  • Short Bibliography 20
  • Catalogue 22
  • Plates *
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