Lot 5
  • 5

Théodore Géricault

250,000 - 350,000 GBP
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  • Théodore Géricault
  • Vue de Tivoli
  • signed and inscribed Tivoli / Gericault pinx. (lower left)
  • brush and pen and ink, pencil, green and blue watercolour and wash on paper
  • 22.4 by 41.5cm., 8⅞ by 16 ⅜in.


Charles Gasc, Paris (circa 1850; with his collector's mark lower left, Lugt 542)
Probably, Chambry collection (sale: Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 3rd February 1881, lot 10)
Emile Joseph-Rignault, Paris (with his collector's mark lower left, Lugt 2218)
Alfred Ströhlin, Lausanne
Hans E. Bühler, Winterthur (acquired from the above in 1956)
Estate of the above (sale: Christie's, London, Théodore Géricault, The Hans E. Bühler Collection, 15th November 1985, lot 52)
Purchased at the above sale by the late owner


Winterthur, Kunstmuseum, Théodore Géricault, 1953, no. 157, illustrated in the catalogue
Paris, Petit Palais, De Géricault à Matisse, 1959, no. 164
San Francisco, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Géricault: Romantic Paintings and Drawings, 1989, no. 20, illustrated in the catalogue
New York, Jan Krugier Gallery; Geneva, Galerie Jan Krugier, Victor Hugo and The Romantic Vision, Drawings and Watercolors, 1990, no. 58, illustrated in the catalogue
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Géricault's Heroic Landscape, The Times of Day, 1990-91, no. 3, illustrated in the catalogue
Paris, Grand Palais, Géricault, 1991-92, no. 97, illustrated in the catalogue
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. 12, illustrated in colour 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. 75, 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. 88, 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. 103, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Paris, Musée Jacquemart-André, La Passion du Dessin. Collection Jan et Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2002, no. 93, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Vienna, Albertina, Goya bis Picasso. Meisterwerke der Sammlung Jan Krugier und Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2005, no. 16, 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. 85, illustrated in colour in the catalogue


Walter Hugelshofer, Dessins et aquarelles de Maîtres français du XIXe siècle dans les Collections publiques et privées, Basel, 1947, no. 14, illustrated pl. XIV
Lorenz Eitner, 'Géricault at Winterthur', in Burlington Magazine, August 1954, mentioned p. 258
Pierre Dubaut & Peter Nathan, Géricault 1791 - 1824, Sammlung Hans E. Bühler - Winterthur, 1956, pl. 53, illustrated; described p. 9
Pierre du Colombier, 'De Géricault à Matisse', in Le Journal de l'amateur d'art, numéro spécial, March-April 1959, mentioned p. 7                                      
Lorenz Eitner, Géricault, his Life and Work, London, 1983, p. 336, n. 54, mentioned, p.112, pl. 99, illustrated
Emmanuelle Brugerolles, Les Dessins de la Collection Armand-Valton : La Donation d'un grand collectionneur du XIXe siècle à l'Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1984, p. 245 no. 346
Germain Bazin, Théodore Géricault, Etude critique, documents et Catalogue Raisonné, vol. IV, Paris, 1990, pp. 119-120, no. 1145, catalogued & illustrated; pp. 16-17, described
'Géricault', in Connaissance des Arts, 1991, p. 32, illustrated in colour
Bernard Noel, Géricault, Paris, 1991, p. 93, illustrated
Lorenz Eitner, Géricault, sa vie, son œuvre, Paris, 1991, p. 447, no. 74, illustrated p. 142
Régis Michel, Géricault, l'Invention du Réel, Paris, 1992, p. 169, no. 50, illustrated p. 50
Wheelock Whitney, Géricault in Italy, London, 1997, pp. 9-10, fig. 4, illustrated in colour; and on the frontispiece, a detail illustrated in colour 


This work is in good overall condition. The sheet has been laid down onto the mount, and the extreme lower left and right corners of the composition infilled and retouched. As visible in the catalogue illustration there are scattered spots of foxing visible primarily in the sky, with some associated small drop marks. There is a tiny abrasion near the extreme right edge, in the centre. Presented framed and under glass, the extreme edges of the sheet covered by the mat.
"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

'Among his larger, detached  drawings of the Italian year there are a few of which he expended more than usual care, the most spectacular being a view of Tivoli [the present work]..., very firmly drawn in pen hatchings and washed with inks and watercolours, an ambitious and exceptional work that he signed with deliberation 'Gericault pinx' ' (Lorenz Eitner, 1982, p. 112).  

Géricault's wonderfully expansive view of the impressive acropolis and attendant deep gorges and gulleys upon which the town of Tivoli stands, with its famous waterfall cascading down a ravine to the left, is one of his largest, most ambitious and panoramic landscapes executed on paper.

Using pen and ink to maximum effect, the dense vegetation that has attached itself to the vertiginous crevices is defined with reassuringly feathery swirls of the nib, while Géricault's emphatic use of horizontal and vertical hatching dramatically articulates the steep sides of the bare rock to the right. In turn, he emphasises the murky depths of the central ravine by contrasting its black inky sides with the fresh green wash, and glistening whites that highlight the surrounding foliage. 

In the foreground Géricault places a single mature tree in full leaf, below which, hidden at the foot of the waterfall, lies Neptune's grotto, a dramatic natural plunge pool hollowed out by the thunderous power of the water plunging down the hill side. Noted for its beauty by Pliny and admired by awed visitors through the ages, it was and remains a popular tourist site. 

Balancing these Stygian depths, at the top of the sheet, silhouetted against the skyline, Géricault profiles the verticals and horizontals of the classical structures that comprise Tivoli itself, including, in the centre, the campanile, the rectangular Temple of the Sybil, and the distinctive circular form of the Temple of Vesta that sits above the gorge.

Géricault's interest in visiting Italy had been developing for some time. It followed the disappointing reception of his Wounded Cuirassier at the Salon of 1814, his subsequent re-awakening of interest in a more classical tradition, and the emotional strain of a clandestine relationship with his maternal uncle's wife, Alexandrine Modest Caruel. 

To immerse himself in the Antique he re-attached himself to his old teacher Pierre-Narcisse Guérin, pupil of Regnault and follower of David. He also returned to practising his art by drawing and painting in the Louvre. So inspired, it was inevitable that he would apply for the Prix de Rome. Although he didn't win it, by the time the result was announced, his heart and mind were set on embarking on what for all aspiring artists of the day had become a vital part of their education: a sojourn in the Eternal City. In addition the journey also afforded him the opportunity to dis-engage himself from his illicit amour.  

Travelling to Italy in the autumn of 1816, he stopped first in Florence before arriving in Rome around the middle of November. There he lodged on Via S. Isidoro (present day Via degli Artisti), mid-way between the French Academy and Piazza Barberini. He was soon sketching, visiting the Sistine Chapel, and immersing himself in the art that he encountered at every turn: Baroque, Renaissance and the Antique.   

But as the present work attests, as well as artists visiting Rome to make copies after earlier paintings and sculptures, they also sought out the beauty of the Roman campagna. Fresh from Paris and his time copying in the Louvre, Géricault's interpretation of Tivoli is strongly reminiscent of the classicising compositions of such artists as Gaspar Dughet, Nicholas Poussin and Claude Lorraine, the latter who painted at least thirty compositions inspired by the dramatic setting and classical architecture of the town (fig. 1). But Lorenz Eitner also cites another more contemporary influence on Géricault's landscape compositions, namely Claude-Joseph Vernet's Italian landscapes. He points out: 'As the friend of Horace, [who lived on the same street as him in Montmartre], and former pupil of Carle Vernet, Gericault had every reason to be thoroughly acquainted with Joseph Vernet's Italian landscapes.' (L. Eitner, op. cit., 1983, p. 144), amongst which Vernet painted at least forty different views of Tivoli (fig. 2).