Pencil & Ink Drawings

Drawings hand-executed by 19th Century avant-gardists.
(Early-edition prints are listed under "Lithographs & Etchings," mass-produced photographic reproductions of artwork are listed under "Ephemera".)


Louis Boulanger, Untitled drawing of an unidentified woman. (c. 1827–1867.) Pencil and conte on paper, 11" x 16".

Though he has since been written out of art history, from the late 1820s to the mid-1830s Louis Boulanger was one of the most influential and progressive visual artists in France, usually grouped with Eugène Devéria and Eugène Delacroix as the three leaders of the Romanticist revolution in the plastic arts. His large-scale history paintings, particularly his violent and colourful 1827 Torture of Mazeppa, did much to establish the visual tropes that would come to define mainstream French Romanticist painting, while his weird, dark prints of demons, ghouls and murderers made him one of the leading exponents of underground Frenetic Romanticism. Like many artists of the first-generation avant-garde, he was taught by Achille Déveria (Eugène's older brother), and helped to determine the form of avant-garde art as a co-founder of the Petit-Cénacle group, later renamed the Jeunes-France and the Bouzingo.

This original portrait is undated, and its subject unidentified. As most of the original sketches in the Revenant Archive show, female relatives and friends were frequent subjects for drawings not destined for sale, probably in part as a reflection to the hegemony of the male gaze at the time, but also because they were often sketching or drawing at home while socializing, and hence drew whomever was present. This example is pretty finely rendered, and evinces a particularly sensitive attention to rendering and line, including highlights in white conte. The drawing has markings of previous archivists – a catalog No. 30 in the top left corner, and a hardened glob of mounting wax in the top right.


Achille Devéria, Saint Louis IX. (c. 1829?) Ink Study on paper.

Achille Devéria played a profound role in the formation of the ultra-Romanticist avant-garde both in his capacity as educator (the teacher of Louis Boulanger, Théophile Gautier, Petrus Borel, Auguste Glaize, and others, as well as his own brother Eugéne) and as co-founder of the seminal Petit-Cénacle group. One of the many unorthodox attitudes passed on from Devéria to his students and friends was a respect for Medieval visual culture; Devéria probably produced this ink study of a Medieval portrait of Louis IX prior to the 'Battle of Hernani' in 1830, possibly in relation to his pedagogical work at the time. It is drawn on very thin paper, and was subsequently cut out carefully and pasted onto the same paper on which the sketch below was produced.


Achille Devéria, Untitled sketch of pastoral scene with fellating sheep. (c. 1830?) Pencil on Paper.


Achille Devéria, Sketch of Laure Devéria. (c. 1830-37) Pencil on paper.

Devéria was constantly sketching family and friends during conversation and relaxation. Some would later serve as studies for the commercially marketed prints which constituted a solid part of his income, such as that below. This sketch is probably of his sister Laure, herself a respected watercolourist. For what it's worth, this and the study above once belonged to Paul Durand, a gallerist and the first successful promoter of the Impressionists.

Achille Devéria, Medallion Portrait of Achilles Bocchius Bononiensis. (Undated, c. 1830-1850) Ink on paper.


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