National Gallery of Canada / Musée des beaux-arts du Canada

Bulletin 11 (VI:1), 1968

Annual Index
Author & Subject

Gustave Moreau:
Same Drawings from the Italian Sojourn

by Pamela G. Osler, Acting Curator of Prints
The National Gallery of Canada

Pages  1  |  2


1 Gustave Moreau, 1826-1898

Hesiod and the Muse 1858

Pen and brown ink over black chalk, heightened with white ink; 377 X 290 mm.

Signed in brown ink. lower left. with the artist's monogram and Gustave Moreau. Rome. 1858.

Provenance: A. Marmontel (sale, Paris, Drouot, 28-29 March 1898, no.173).

Bought from Stephen Higgons, Paris, 1966.

Exhibitions: Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario, 1968, Master Drawings from the collection of the National Gallery of Canada, no. 56, repr.; Bloomington, Indiana University Art Museum, 1968, The Academic Tradition: An Exhibition of 19th Century French Drawings, no. 76, repr.

2 Dates given are those of Ary Renan as cited by Ragnar von Holten, L'art fantastique de Gustave Moreau, Paris, 1960. It has been suggested, on the basis of several drawings inscribed Rome 1860, that if Moreau did not remain longer in Rome than is generally believed he must have returned later for a short visit (Phoebe Pool, "Degas and Moreau," Burlington Magazine, vol. CV, June 1963, p. 255).

3 For example, this reference in a letter to Degas from his father, dated 30 November 1858: "La présence de M. Moreau à Florence va te retenir encore, je le vois bien" (P.A. Lemoisne, Degas et son oeuvre, Paris, 1946, vol. I, p. 31).

4 See letter from Tourny to Degas in Florence, July 1858: "Ne manquez pas de dire bien des choses à Moreau, dites-lui que je serai très heureux de le voir cet hiver à Rome" (Lemoisne, vol. I, p. 228, n. 24). As a further possible source of evidence of Moreau's presence in Florence some authors have quoted Teleaco Signorini without due consideration of the fact that Moreau's arrival in Italy supposedly dates from 1857. Signorini speaks of events in the year 1855 but his memory may have been vague: "Nel 1855 feci anch'io la mia prima comparsa al Michelangioio ...e vennero con noi...Degas e Morot [sic], Tissot eLafenestre" (Caricaturisti e Caricaturati al Caffè Michefangiolo, Florence: Felice le Monnier, 1952, pp.119-120).

5 Mlle Geneviève Monnier, Assistante au Cabinet des Dessins, Musée du Louvre, has kindly brought this drawing to my attention. Mr. and Mrs. Seligman have graciously given permission to publish the drawing.

6 Reproduced as an unidentified sketch in Gert Schiff, "Gustave Moreau 1826-1898," Du, May 1965, p. 367, pl. 24. The portrait in the lower right of the sheet is of Théodore Chassériau (cf. the portrait by Moreau reproduced in Léonce Bénédite, Théodore Chassériau, sa vie et son oeuvre, Paris, 1931, vol. Il, p. 508). The tact that Chassériau died in 1856 introduces the possibility of figs. 2 and 4 having been drawn in 1856 in Paris, but the portrait in fig. 4 could have been drawn from memory. An inscription at the top of the sheet is barely visible. Unfortunately, as it is still somewhat difficult to see the collection of the Musée Gustave Moreau properly a thorough examination of the drawings is not possible. The drawings illustrated here are not numbered or catalogued.

7 For a discussion of Moreau's very personal iconography and how it reflects certain nineteenth-century concepts about the role of the artist and about men and women, see Dore Ashton, "Gustave Moreau," in Odilon Redon / Gustave Moreau / Rodolphe Bresdin, New York: The Museum of Modern Art (in collaboration with The Art Institute of Chicago),1962.

8. Jean Paladilhe, "Préface," Catalogue Sommaire des Peintures, Dessins, Cartons et Aquarelles exposés dans les galeries du Musée Gustave Moreau, Paris, 1966.

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