Eugène Delacroix correspondence and working notes, circa 1814-1863.


Eugène Delacroix correspondence and working notes, circa 1814-1863.

Letters of Delacroix dating mostly from the last fifteen years of his life, thirteen letters received, portions of a school notebook and two sheets of working notes, circa 1838 and undated. In the letters, Delacroix writes of his paintings for the Salon de la Paix of the Hôtel de Ville and for the Chapelle des Anges of Saint-Sulpice; his roles as an occasional member of the Salon jury, as City Councillor of Paris (1851), and as a member of the Academy (1857); his exhibition at the Exposition Universelle of 1855; the remodeling and maintenance of his studios in Paris and at Champrosay, the restoration of his paintings, the critical response to his work; and his social life, friendships, illnesses, and experience of aging. While most are unreflective, few fail to mention his work or activities in some detail. Only eight of the letters have been published. The collection includes two sheets of working notes, one on anatomy and another relating to subjects for the decorations in the library of the Chambre des députés. Series I. Letters to various correspondents, 1826-1963 (Box 1, Folders 1-11). In the letters arranged by chronological order, Delacroix frequently comments on the great effort required for the decorative projects and expresses elation upon completion of work. He also refers to the framing of his painting (to Haro, 1850), the restoration of the Death of Sardanapalus and other works (to Chennevières, 1856; Verninac, 1855); the hanging of his show in 1855 and a projected exhibition in Limoges (1861). His notes to critics include specific response to their reviews (to Astruc, 1860; Buloz, 1854; Chesneau, 1861; Cuvillier-Fleury, 1855; Gautier, 1860; Thore, 1861). On two occasions, he rails against biography as a form of art criticism, but also assesses several biographical articles on himself (unidentified correspondent, 1861; Arnoux, undated). In 1851, a frequent theme is the futility of his efforts as City Councillor of Paris; in 1856-57, it is the advancement of his candidature for the Institut (to Bixio, J. Duret, Baron Taylor, et al). Of special interest are letters to the cellist Batta about his wife's translations (1857); to an official at the Hôtel de Ville requesting special viewing conditions for Clement de Ris who will write about Delacroix's paintings; to Charles Blanc thanking him for his role in obtaining the Saint-Sulpice commission (1861); to F. Lamey commenting on Haussmann's Paris (1855); to Buloz concerning Planche's article on the Salon de la Paix, with a comment on Ingres (1854); to the Roche, on Delacroix's brother's tomb and on personal matters; to George Sand and her son, Maurice, about Maurice's marriage (1862); to Savignac on religious questions and commenting in some detail on a painting by Savignac (1862); to Soulier touching on both artistic and personal matters (1826, 1853-57); and to the Comte de Forbin arranging for Tomasz Oskar, Comte de Sosnowski to copy a painting in the Luxembourg Museum (1836). Other correspondents include Eugène Isabey (undated), Mlle. Seligman (1861), M. Souty (undated, 1852), M. Pingard (1857), and Antoine? Etex (undated). Important letters already published are to Astruc (1859), Blanc (1861), Chesneau (1861), Gautier (1860), F. Guillemardet (1828), Huet (1858), Soulier (1826, 1853, 1857), and Baron Taylor (1856). Series II. Letters to Jules Laroche, 1857-1861 (Box 1, Folder 12). Delacroix moved in 1857 into the studio and apartment at 6 rue de Furstemberg (now the Musée Delacroix), so that he could be within easy walking distance of his work in progress at Saint-Sulpice. The following summer he bought a house at Champrosay that he had rented since 1852. He hired Jules Laroche, an architect at Corbeil, near Champrosay, to remodel both properties. The twelve letters concern the work done by Laroche for Delacroix. Series III. Letters received, 1822-1839 (Box 1, Folder 13). Thirteen letters from several correspondents, including Achille Deveria and Elisa Boulanger, discussing intimate personal matters and mutual acquaintances. Series IV. School notes, circa 1814-1815 (Box 1, Folder 14). A portion of a school notebook dating from the period when Delacroix was a pupil at the Lycée Louis le Grand. It consists of exercises in Greek and Latin and short essays in French (heavily corrected). Delacroix experiments with forms of his signature in the margins. Includes a small sketch of a horse in silhouette. Series V. Working notes, circa 1838 and undated (Box 1, Folder 15; Box 2*). The working notes comprise 2 items: a list of subjects (Box 2*) and a sheet with notations on colors (Box 1, Folder 15). The first is a large sheet (circa 1838), written in pencil on both sides, listing subjects by branches of knowledge, figural personifications and historical anecdotes, with some comment on Delacroix's larger thematic intentions and with a pen sketch of a man on a horse. This most likely represents some of the artist's first reflections on the iconographic scheme for the decoration of the library of the Chambre des députés.

circa 144 items.


SNAC Resource ID: 8247449

Getty Research Institute

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