Théodore Géricault (Rouen 1791-1824 Paris) A study for the principal group of the Raft of the Medusa (a male figure assisting another on to a barrel to make a signal to the Argus)
Lot 269
Théodore Géricault (Rouen 1791-1824 Paris) A study for the principal group of the Raft of the Medusa (a male figure assisting another on to a barrel to make a signal to the Argus)
Sold for £12,500 (US$ 20,243) inc. premium

Lot Details
Théodore Géricault (Rouen 1791-1824 Paris)
A study for the principal group of the Raft of the Medusa (a male figure assisting another on to a barrel to make a signal to the Argus)
inscribed by the artist in brown ink 'Lamoureux rue/ n° 28 pla[ce]' (on the reverse)
pen and brown ink on blue paper
22.6 x 16.5cm (8 7/8 x 6 1/2in).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:
    A. Mouriau (Frits Lugt 1853)
    J.P. Heseltine (Frits Lugt 1507); his sale, Sotheby's, London, 27-29 May, 1935, lot 238
    Sale, Sotheby's, London, 3 December, 1947, lot 81

    LITERATURE:
    C. Clément, Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 1867 (listed as in the collection of His de La Salle, but not included in the catalogue), ill., p. 333
    C. Clément, Géricault, 1868, and C. Clément, Géricault, 1879, p. 355, note 1
    L. Eitner, Géricault raft of the Medusa (London, 1972), p. 161, no. 68, ill., fig. 67, p. 109
    G. Bazin, Théodore Géricault, Étude Critique, Documents et Catalogue Raisonné, Génie et Folie Le Radeau De La Méduse et les monomanes, volume VI (Paris, 1994), no. 1975, pp. 21 and 121, listed as location unknown
    A. Alhadeff, The Raft of the Medusa. Géricault, Art, and Race (Prestel, Munich, Berlin, London, New York, 2002), pp. 164, 166, ill., fig. 78

    We are grateful to M. Bruno Chenique for confirming the attribution of the present drawing on the basis of first-hand inspection. The drawing is to be included in his forthcoming Catalogue raisonné des dessins inédits et retrouve de Théodore Géricault.

    Géricault's finished oil painting, the Raft of the Medusa, now in the Musée du Louvre, Paris, was first exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1819. He was initially attracted to the scandalous circumstances of the newspaper story of the wreck of a government frigate and the shameful abandonment of its crew, raising this contemporary reference to the exalted language of monumental art. Before deciding on his composition, the artist explored various episodes in the narrative of events, finally choosing the dramatic moment of suspense which highlighted the shipwrecked men's desperate effort to be seen by their rescuers on board the Argus.
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