1798 Charenton – Paris 1863
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Marguerite à l’église – Gretchen at Church 1825-27
crayon lithograph; image 270 x 220 mm (10 ½ x 8 ¾ inches)
Delteil 70 second state (of five)
Jean Cantacuzène, Bucharest (Lugt 4035)
Henri Marie Petiet, Paris (Lugt 5031)
Eugène Delacroix. Themen und Variationen. Arbeiten auf Papier, exhibition catalogue, Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt, 1987–88, no. E22
A fine impression in excellent condition; with generous margins all round. In the top right corner the sheet bears approval stamp (lu et approuvé) of the chef de la Librarie with the date 1828.
Made between 1825 and 1827 and first published by Charles Motte in 1828, the illustrations for Goethe’s Faust form an important part of Delacroix oeuvre as a printmaker. The inspiration for this was an English adaption of the play which the artist saw in London in 1825.
It seems as if the diabolical spectacle of that production left a lasting impression. It can still be sensed in the scene showing Gretchen at church. Unlike the German Faust illustrations by Moritz Retzsch and Peter von Cornelius, Delacroix does not develop a comparatively calm narrative, often staged in wide-open rooms. Instead, he dramatizes the scene by condensing the architectural space and by making Gretchen the unrivalled center of the scene. The priest, who in the context of the play is supposed to offer consolation, becomes a minor side figure in the background. Gretchen has collapsed on the pew and gets harassed by an overbearing Mephistopheles whose pale, upward-pointing hand pierces the darkness above the group. Delacroix manages to create a scene that translates the overwhelming inner drama of the main figure into a congenial visual language.
Hamlet: seize sujets dessinés et lithographiés par Eugène Delacroix
published by Dusacq & Cie., Michel Lévy Frères, and Pagnerre, Paris 1864
letterpress title-page and index of plates and sixteen crayon lithographs on chine appliqué on wove paper; sheet size 550 x 358 mm (21 5/8 x 14 1/8 inches)
Samuel Josefowitz, Pully (not stamped)
Delacroix published an edition with thirteen plates printed by Ghihaut Frères in 1843. The complete set of sixteen stones was acquired by Paul Meurice in the estate sale who then had an edition of 200 printed by Dusacq, Michel Lévy frères and Pagnerre in 1864.