Théodore Géricault

theodore gericault. La charrette a charbon
La charrette a charbon.
black chalk, pen and grey ink and watercolor on paper (recto);
black chalk on paper (verso)
19.9 x 27.6 cm


M. Suzor, Paris.

Anon. sale, Audap-Solanet, Paris, 17 June 1994, lot 137.
Jan Krugier, acquired at the above sale.

Géricault’s fascination with horses began in his childhood during visits to his father’s family’s farm in Rouen. As an artist, his mastery of this subject was developed first in the studio of Horace Vernet (1789-1863), when he made drawings of the horses in the Imperial Stables at Versailles. Later during his travels to England and Italy he depicted horses and equestrian events in local settings–such as the Barberi race in Rome, and aristocratic riders in England. The role of horses in military settings was also a source of inspiration and he depicted both historical and contemporary equestrian battles. Horses were the subject of many firsthand, rapidly executed chalk and pen studies, as well as more finished compositions in watercolor and oil of horses in stables, in battle, mounted by riders and as beasts of burden, such as the present lot.

During his visits to London in 1820 and 1821, the artist stayed in the house of his friend Adam Elmore, a horse dealer who owned stables near Hyde Park. Géricault’s interest in British culture spanned all aspects of class and society, and more so than any other place, he was interested in the lives and activities of the working class in England. The culmination of this was the 1821 publication of Various Subjects Drawn from Life and on Stone which included 13 lithographs of everyday life of the lower classes in England. One of these lithographs, Entrance to the Adelphi Wharf, also depicted the coal wagon as its subject, with the horses and coalman seen from behind entering a brick tunnel (fig. 1; Bazin, op. cit., pp. 68-9, no. 2131). Coalwagons were also the subject of several other watercolors by Géricault, most notably one at the British Museum, London which includes more horses and a wider landscape than the Krugier drawing (fig. 2; Bazin, op. cit., no. 2167).

The present watercolor shows a coal wagon being pulled by two horses, one of which seems to be headed in a different direction thanks to a broken shaft. The coalman, his expression determined and his whip raised, struggles to bring the animal back in line. Here Géricault conveys both the power and dignity of man and horse through his focus on their everyday activities. The coalman’s pose even mimics that of antique sculpture. La charrette à charbon combined the artist’s love of horses with his interest in everyday life in England. While in his compositions of English horses and riders, both man and animal reflect a haughty elegance, here they are united by the toilsome nature of their job.

Inv.Nr. 1466


Paris, Galerie Gobin, Géricault, 1935, no. 61.
Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., Géricault, 1937, no. 142.
Paris, Galerie Dina Vierny, Cent Aquarelles du XIXe siècle, March-April 1947.
Paris, Galerie Bignou, Géricault cet inconnu… Aquarelles, gouaches, dessins, exposition organisée au bénéfice de la Société des amis d’Eugène Delacroix, May-June 1950, no. 56.
London, Marlborough Fine Art, Ltd., Théodore Géricault, October- November 1952 (illustrated on the cover), Cf. note no. 58.
Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., Cent-cinquante ans de dessin, December 1952-March 1953, no. 70.
Winterthur, Kunstmuseum, Théodore Géricault, August-November 1953, no. 191, pl. XXI.
Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., Gros, Géricault, Delacroix, January- March 1954, no. 64.
Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin-Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Linie, Licht und Schatten: Meisterzeichnungen und Skulpturen der Sammlung Jan und Marie Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, May-August 1999, no. 78, p. 170 (illustrated, p. 171).
Venice, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, The Timeless Eye: Master Drawings from the Jan and Marie Anne Krugier-Poniatowski Collection, September-December 1999, no. 91, p. 196 (illustrated, p. 197).
Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Miradas sin Tiempo: Dibujos, Pinturas y Esculturas de la Colección Jan y Marie Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, February-May 2000, no. 106, p. 244 (illustrated, p. 245).


A. del Guerico, Géricault, Milan, 1963, p. 150 (illustrated, fig. 80; as done after his return from England to France).
G. Bazin, Théodore Géricault: Etude critique, documents et catalogue raisonné, Paris, 1997, vol. VII, p. 83, no. 2168 (recto), p. 84, no. 2169 (verso); étude critique, p. 13.

A traveller and his horse with a country girl outside an inn
A traveller and his horse with a country girl outside an inn
Black lead, pen and brown ink, brown and grey wash on paper
30 x 38.8 cm


A M Legentil-Marcotte.


C Clement, Géricault, Paris, 1879, Nr 145.
F Bergot, Géricault, Tout l
Tate Britain “Constable to Delacroix”, Feb-May 2003 The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Jun-Sep 2003
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Okt 2003 – Jan 2004

Dokumente / Zertifikat:

Professor Eitner kindly confirms the attribution of the present drawing to Géricault.

A study for the lithograph from the series Etudes de Chevaux par Géricault by Villain and Volmar, published by Gihault after 1823, F. Bergot, op. cit. Nr 76, illustrated. The series was a continuation of the very successful Suite Anglaise, or Etudes de chevaux d’apès nature, engraved by Géricault and published by Gihaut in 1822, Delteil, 46-57, and F Bergot, op. cit. Nr 47-58, illustrated. Because of the oval format of the later series, Professor Lorenz Eitner suggests that the drawing was intended in fact for the Suite Anglaise and was later used by Géricault when Gihaut, commissioned from him an additional series only on horses.

The compositions of the lithograph and that of this drawing are very close though, as Professor Eitner points out, „several significant pentimenti in the pencil underdrawing, the window above the head of the groom, left out in the final execution, the left hand of the young woman“, are in the present drawing. These are changes that in my opinion exclude the possibility of Volmar’s authorship or participation in the drawing. Professor Eitner also points out that the treatment of the wash „giving something of the effect of a watercolour“ is very typical of Géricault.

Inv 462

Katalog Théodore Géricault