Lot 165
  • 165

Georges Seurat

80,000 - 120,000 GBP
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  • Georges Seurat
  • Mendiant hindou
  • signed Seurat on the reverse
  • pencil on paper
  • 49.2 by 28.7cm., 19 1/4 by 11 1/4 in.


Estate of the artist
Madame Léopold Appert, Paris
Private Collection (sale: Picard, Paris, 26th November 1993, lot 2)
Purchased at the above sale by the late owner


Berne, Kunstmuseum & Hamburg, Kunsthalle, Zeichnen ist Sehen, Meisterwerke von Ingres bis Cézanne aus dem Museum der Bildenden Künste Budapest und aus Schweizer Sammlungen, 1996, no. 96, illustrated in the catalogue
Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin & Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Linie, Licht und Schatten. Meisterzeichnungen und Skulpturen der Sammlung Jan und Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 1999, no. 112, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Venice, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, The Timeless Eye. Master Drawings from the Jan and Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski Collection, 1999, no. 123, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Miradas sin Tiempo. Dibujos, Pinturas y Esculturas de la Coleccion Jan y Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2000, no. 148, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Paris, Musée Jacquemart-André, La passion du dessin. Collection Jan et Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2002, no. 137, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Vienna, Albertina Museum, Goya bis Picasso. Meisterwerke der Sammlung Jan Krugier und Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2005, no. 81, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Munich, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Das Ewige Auge - Von Rembrandt bis Picasso. Meisterwerke der Sammlung Jan Krugier und Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2007, no. 136, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
New York, Museum of Modern Art, Georges Seurat. The Drawings, 2007-08, no. 7, illustrated in colour in the catalogue


César M. de Hauke, Seurat et son œuvre, Paris, 1961, vol. II, no. 282, illustrated p. 21 (with incorrect dimensions)
Robert L. Herbert, Seurat's Drawings, New York, 1962, no. 21, illustrated p. 23
John Russell, Seurat, London, 1965, no. 11, illustrated p. 21
Alain Madeleine-Perdrillat, Seurat, Geneva, 1990, illustrated p.19


Executed on cream laid paper, not laid down, attached to the mount intermittently along the upper edge. The upper, right and lower edges are deckled, and the left edge is evenly cut. The sheet is very slightly time-stained and there is a small repaired tear to the centre of the upper edge. There is a barely legible inscription to the right part of the lower edge, and some very light paper skinning to the lower left quadrant. There is a light crease to the upper right corner. Otherwise, this work is in overall good condition.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

Georges Seurat discovered his natural skill for drawing at an early age. His pious upbringing would not permit him to abandon orthodox education, and so the independent-minded artist enrolled in a municipal school of design which he faithfully attended alongside his conventional schooling. This design school was run by French sculptor Justin Lequien, and the training comprised of making close studies of the plaster casts of antique sculptures. This training heavily impacted Seurat’s early works, which faithfully reproduce the stillness and solidity of statues. Even Seurat’s early studies of live models betray his comfortable familiarity with drawing sculpture.

The present work was executed during the later years of Seurat’s education under Justin Lequien. However, the body of the mendiant is decidedly not that of an antique sculpture. Folds of skin ripple down his chest and his ascetic shoulders droop over his heavy arms. Seurat’s deft handling of shadow finely articulates the wilting muscles of the aging man. The present work emerges from Seurat’s early practice of extremely precise draughtsmanship, but the vitality which imbues the work is original and powerful. Mendiant Hindou is remarkable for marking the very start of Seurat’s formidable departure from his early classical style and without doubt counts among the most exquisite drawings of the artist’s entire oeuvre.