Although Auguste Préault was characterized as the “Delacroix of sculpture” in his lifetime, it wasn’t until 1864, after the painter’s death, that he realized a small medallion in profile of the artist who had supported him several times over the course of his difficult career. André Joubin, a great specialist of Delacroix’s writings, was enthused to acquire an old print of the medallion shown here, thinking that it represented the painter. He later established that this medallion, dated 1836, actually represents a namesake.
The Eugène Delacroix that figures on the present medallion was a politically engaged journalist who penned a few poorly written articles for the newspaper La Liberté – a fact which significantly irritated the master painter, who must have had to disabuse more than a few people of the notion that he was the author. The
slightly barbarous character of this strong profile, as Théophile Thoré put it, makes it one of Préault’s most arresting medallions.