FERDINAND-VICTOR-EUGÈNE DELACROIX (Charenton-Saint-Maurice 1798-1863 Paris)
View in the Pyrenees
graphite, watercolor
634 x 978 in. (17 x 25 cm)
The artist’s studio, Paris (L. 838a); Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 17-29 February 1864, probably part of lot 595 (‘Études de muletiers et de paysannes. Vues de montagnes. Aquarelles et dessins. 27 feuilles.’).
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Lot Essay

On the advice of his doctor, Delacroix, exhausted by his work on the Palais du Luxembourg and suffering from an inflammation of the throat, left Paris from 22 July to 14 August 1845 to stay in Eaux-Bonnes, a small spa town located in the Pyrenees that had become a gathering place for Parisian high society. There he joined his fellow painters from Pierre-Narcisse Guérin’s studio, Camille Roqueplan (1803-1855) and Paul Huet (1803-1869), and took long walks through the mountainous countryside, describing the scene in a letter on 25 July 1845: ‘Nature is very beautiful here. There are mountains wherever you turn, and the visual effect is magnificent’ (Correspondance générale d’Eugène Delacroix, II, Paris, 1936, p. 222).
Watercolor views of the Pyrenees are in the collections of the Morgan Library and Museum in New York (inv. 2002.2), the British Museum (inv. 1970,1212.47; see Eugène Delacroix, exhib. cat., Karlsruhe, Staatliche Kunsthalle, 2003-2004, no. 157, ill.) and the Louvre, which recently acquired a complete album produced during the artist’s stay in the Pyrenees (inv. RF 52997; see M.-P. Salé, Eugène Delacroix. Carnet ‘des Pyrénées’, Paris, 2016). All of the stylistic characteristics typical of Delacroix’s landscapes are present here: the fluidity and transparency of the medium, as well as the skillful juxtaposition of cool colors with the artist’s research into the diverse shades of green, which he described in his notes as ‘soft green’, ‘yellow green’, ‘grey green’, ‘Venetian green’, and even ‘ochre green’ (Salé, ibid., p. 32).

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