Saint-Denis, c. 1805 – 1878
Portrait of Delacroix, after the Self-Portrait painted by Eugène Delacroix held by the Uffizi Gallery in Florence
Oil on canvas
H. 64 cm; W. 53 cm
Gift of the Société des Amis du Musée Eugène Delacroix (MD 2012-2)
Following the successful acquisition in 2009 of the Portrait of Delacroix by the painter’s friend, English painter Thales Fielding, in which Delacroix appears as an elegant young man of 26 years, the museum’s collection has been further enriched by the portrait of a mature Delacroix with a penetrating gaze and an energetic expression that seems to contradict the “frail and delicate” physical appearance Baudelaire attributed to him…
This exceptionally faithful copy of the Self-Portrait painted by Delacroix and belonging to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence was painted by Hippolyte Gaultron, a paternal cousin of Delacroix. A painter in his own right, Gaultron joined his cousin’s studio in 1841, replacing Gustave Lassalle-Bordes for a short period in his post as massier (the person in charge of finances and other administrative matters).
When did Delacroix paint his Self-Portrait? Historians disagree: his cataloguer, Alfred Robaut, upheld that it was in 1860, but others say that would be too late. Maurice Sérullaz judges that 1840-42 would be more plausible, as Delacroix looks to be in his forties rather than in his sixties… Lee Johnson, another of the painter’s cataloguers, finds the way it has been painted to be more in keeping with his work from the 1850s, in which case Delacroix made himself look younger!
Unlike the painting in the Uffizi, the painter wears the red ribbon of the Legion of Honor in this copy. Gaultron, then, must have painted the image after Delacroix received the Legion of Honor in 1846.