Posthumous sale of the artist, Paris March 20th 1876, most likely no. 14 entitled Deux têtes de Turcos ; Private collection, France ; Inherited by the present owners' family about fifteen years ago.
It is a study for the heads of two figures in the foreground of Pils's famous picture Le passage de l'Alma par la division du général Bosquet le 20 septembre 1854. The Alma battle was an episode of the Crimean war which opposed the French and English troops against the Russians. Pils was commissioned to execute this huge canvas (5m x 9m) in 1857, for the musée de Versailles where it is still kept today.
Good overall condition.
On its original canvas.
Bears on the reverse the mark of the paint merchant Dubus.
An illegible green wax stamp on the stretcher.
The painting is dirty and would benefit from a light cleaning.
Under the UV light :
An important repaint of about 5 cm, due to a tear, below the costume of the left man, reinforced on the back with a patch. "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. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."