Musée National Eugène Delacroix

Lowchair

© RMN / J-G. Berizzi

MD 2002-261
XIXe siècle
Darkened wood, velvet
Gift of the Société des Amis du musée Delacroix, 2002
H. 1 m ; L. 0,460 m ; Pr. 0,400 m.

This chair, purchased from a distant descendant of Jenny Le Guillou, the painter’s faithful servant, was probably among the furniture taken away by Jenny once Delacroix’s estate was finally settled. The museum also has a writing desk, now in the living room, which came from the same estate.

 

"Jenny, who served and took care of him so devotedly"

Jeanne-Marie, known as Jenny, Le Guillou, started working for Delacroix around 1835 and gradually occupied an ever-increasing role in the painter’s life. Baudelaire wrote that "... one Sunday, I saw Delacroix at the Louvre, in the company of his old servant, the one who served and took care of him so devotedly for thirty years. And he, the elegant, refined erudite was not averse to showing and explaining the mysteries of Assyrian sculpture to this excellent woman, who was listening to him with naïve diligence." This anecdote illustrates the master’s affection for his housekeeper, who was "closer than a sister" to him.

The master’s gratitude

Before he died, Delacroix was anxious to draw up his will before a notary and to specially thank Jenny Le Guillou who had served him so faithfully. He not only bequeathed to her a sum of 50,000 francs, two watches, and the miniature portraits of his father and his two brothers, but he also stipulated that she should select enough pieces of furniture in the apartment to "furnish a suitable small apartment."

Documentation

Charles Baudelaire, La vie et l’oeuvre d’Eugène Delacroix, Paris, 1928, p.44.

Maurice Sérullaz, Delacroix, Paris, 1989, p. 454.

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