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Title Portrait of Madame Simon
Collection Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Artist Attributed to Delacroix, Eugène (French painter, 1798-1863)
Date Earliest about 1833
Date Latest about 1835
Description Madame Simon was married to the mâitre de ballet at the Paris Opera. It is Delacroix's only surviving oil portrait of a contemporary sitter placed in a fully defined interior. Delacroix made a sketch of Madame Simon's husband dressed in the role of (Musée de l'Opéra, Paris). Delacroix also made a bust length portrait of Madame Simon which Robaut dates to 1829 (no. 294).
Current Accession Number 1963P32
Former Accession Number P.32´63
Subject portrait (Madame Simon)
Measurements 59.7 x 48.2 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Purchased from Hector Brame Gallery 1963.
Provenance Probably François Simon (sitter's husband) until his death in 1877; Victor Chocquet by 1878; his widow, Madame Chocquet; Madame Chocquet sale, 1 July 1899, lot 50 as Femme dans un interieur [...] Portrait presume de Mme. F. Villot; M. le Baron Vitta by 1930; Hector Brame Gallery.
Principal Exhibitions Eugène Delacroix. Centenaire du Romantisme, Paris, 1930, cat. no. 70A; Delacroix, Louvre, 1937; Delacroix, Arts Council, London-Edinburgh, 1964, cat. no. 33, ill.
Publications Burty, P., Lettres de Eugène Delacroix, 1878, p. 353; Escholier II, 186; Pool, P., 1969, p. 34, pl. 21; Rewald, J., 'Chocquet and Cézanne',Gazette des Beaux Arts, vol. 74, 1969, p. 76; Johnson, L., The Paintings of Eugène Delacroix. A critical catalogue, Oxford, 1981, vol. 1, p.63; Robaut, A., L'Oeuvre Complet de Eugène Delacroix, Charavay Frères, Paris, 1885, p. 147, no. 555; Foreign Paintings in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, A Summary Catalogue, 1983, no. 42, ill.
Notes Label on back 'LeBrun/ Cadres Anciens et Modernes depuis 1847 etc. no. 3475'.

Inventory made in 1899 of contents of Marie Chocquet's house at Rue Monsigny, Paris, after her death on 24 March of that year, 'un portrait de femme en robe blanche dans un interieur [portrait presumé de Madame F. Villot] by Delacroix', lot 50. Sale was on 1 - 4 July 1899.

The attribution is doubted by Lee Johnson based on the

ambiguities and indecision in placing the chair, the illogical structure of the table and the timidity of the still life lying on it, the crude handling of the foot-rest, of the pattern on the carpet and the shaft of light that falls across it [...] the disconnected left arm of the sitter and the awkward overlap of her head against the picture hanging on the wall behind her. (letter in gallery archives)
However, Robaut considered this painting 'une merveille de couleur et de lumiere' (Robaut, 1885, p. 147). It is, perhaps, unlikely that a collector such as Victor Choquet would possess a fake Delacroix. Lee Johnson also states that there is a possibility that the sitter's husband reliably told Robaut that this was by Delacroix when Robaut visited him in 1877, no doubt for the purpose of questioning him about the two portraits of Madame Simon attributed to Delacroix.
Rights Owner Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Author Dr Patricia Smyth



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