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Title

: The Jerome Hill Bequest: Corot's Silenus and Delacroix's Fanatics of Tangiers

Author

Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Date

1974

Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
As his grandfather, James J. Hill, was an art collector and his father, Louis Hill, an enthusiastic amateur painter, it is not surprising that Jerome Hill devoted his life to the arts. He became proficient in music, painting and film—talents he combined in what is perhaps his most brilliant study, Film Portrait of 1971. Jerome Hill was also an avid art collector, but whereas his grandfather collected works by Courbet, Delacroix and the French Barbizon painters, Jerome Hill acquired a large collection of works by the post-impressionists.The Jerome Hill bequest to The Minneapolis Institute of Arts follows the gifts of James J. Hill himself and those of his descendants—Mrs. Erasmus C. Lindley, Mrs. Gertrude Hill Gavin, and Mrs. Egil Boeckmann. As a result of these generous gifts, the Institute is now fortunate to be able to display some twenty-two paintings—including such masterpieces as Courbet's Deer in the Forest, Delacroix's View of Tangiers and Corot's Springtime—which were all originally in the collection which was one of the finest assembled in nineteenth-century America. The Silenus was the largest of twenty-two Corots in James J. Hill's collection, while the Fanatics of Tangiers was, perhaps, the finest of his seven Delacroixs.The huge Silenus (figure 1)1 by Corot was, from its inception, intended to be a grand Salon painting. The mythological subject-matter of the work was taken from Virgil's Eclogue VI:14:
The lads Chromis and Muasyllos saw Silenus lying asleep in a cave, his veins swollen, as ever, with the wine of yesterday. Nearby lay the garlands, just fallen from his head, and his heavy tankard was hanging by its well-worn handle. Falling on him—for oft the aged one had cheated both of a promised song—they cast him into fetters made from his own garlands. Aegle, fairest of the Naiads—and, as now his eyes open, paints his face and brows with crimson mulberries. Smiling at the trick, he cries: "Why fetter me? Loose me, lads; enough that you have shown your power. Hear the songs you crave; you shall have your songs, she another kind of reward."2
Corot took certain liberties with Virgil's description of the scene. Silenus does not appear in a cave, but next to a stream in a wood that resembles the Forests of Fontainebleau. His heavy tankard appears in the foreground, he is bound with garlands, Aegle "paints his face and brows with crimson mulberries," but the "lads" to whom Silenus refers have here been replaced by girls. In the middle distance is a pair of figures, one of whom wears the leopard skin and carries the thyrsus of a bacchante. In the far distance appear three female dancers, a male, and a satyr participating in a round. The only somber note of the scene is the motionless female figure to the left.When first exhibited at the Salon of 1838, Corot's Silenus was the subject of much contemporary criticism. Mercey, in the Revue des Deux Mondes, labeled Corot an historical landscape painter. He noted that the artist had made considerable progress and that the Silenus possessed to the highest degree that "naïeveté" for which Corot had been looking.3 In the Revue de Paris, Thoré observed that the bacchantes of Corot were scarcely disheveled, foolish, or voluptuous. He noted that the small groups had a great deal of charm, particularly the woman to the left, yet that the overall impression lacked force and color.4 The Journal des Débats carried a review by Delécluze which stated that although Corot had a profound and true feeling for nature, one noticed an affectation of simplicity that all but destroyed the apparent worth of the work. Delécluze went on to observe that Corot was too often influenced by ghosts of the great Poussin.5 An anonymous critic in L'Artiste felt that Corot's landscapes were always beautifully conceived, but that more than ever that year were coldly and dully executed.6 Planche's lengthy essay in the Revue du XIXe Siècle illustrates the close critical attention given to Corot's Silenus:
The Silenus of M. Corot is hardly noticed, and yet there is real merit in this composition. There is grandeur in the landscape; the trees offer a beautiful silhouette, and the background is well lighted. Unfortunately, there are many figures, and the importance of these figures does not correspond to the purity of the design. This is certainly a serious defect, but it is not the only one found in the composition of M. Corot. The landscape is conceived in such a fashion that it could very well do without figures. As M. Corot pretends to create historical and mythological landscapes, he must not forget that Nicholas Poussin always closely linked figures and landscapes. In pagan subjects as in Christian, he took it upon himself, as a pressing duty, to unite people to places. His forests, his mountains, his buildings, although treated with scrupulous care, are always laid out in such a way as not to be complete without the actors who animate them. M. Corot seems not to perceive the necessity of this union, for his Silenus, although painted with more steadfastness of purpose than his St. Jerome (Reims, Musée Saint Denis), solicits, with regard to poetic relationship, pretty much the same criticism. In Silenus as in St. Jerome the landscape is complete in itself, and consequently the aim of the author is not achieved. This defect deprives M. Corot of praise which he might rightly claim. To insist upon placing figures in landscapes and not to unite closely the place and the actors is to invite being misunderstood, and such is in fact the situation of M. Corot. There is scarcely a handful of serious men who take into account his courageous enterprises and enjoy studying his works. However, it would be unfortunate if M. Corot were to become discouraged by the indifference of the masses, because there is in his vague and unfinished composition an elevation of style which real landscape makes more precious from day to day. While there are caravans of painters throughout France who copy as best they can a thicket, a bush, a hedge, a brook, who count the pebbles that border a moat, it is good that persevering men, such as M. Corot, disdain vulgar reality and attempt invention in landscape painting. Accomplished or not, this aim ought to be encouraged. We do not know if it will be given to M. Corot to achieve the goal which he half perceives; we do not know if he will succeed at some future date in translating clearly his thought, but we do hope that the masses will acknowledge his efforts to date so that he will continue along the road he has chosen; for the landscapes of M. Corot are a useful protest against the shabby reality which threatens to invade our school. He is interested in an ideal, and one must applaud his ambition.7
While we may disagree with some of their value judgments, many of the visual observations of Mercey, Thoré, Planche and others are quite valid. Indeed, the painting does have a certain "naïveté," the figures and landscape are not completely integrated, and Corot was perhaps being overly ambitious.Planche's and Delécluze's references to the influence of Poussin have been echoed by many twentieth-century critics. Recently Héléne Toussaint suggested Corot's Silenus was inspired by Poussin's Triumph of Silenus, a copy of which is in the National Gallery in London (figure 2).8 However, while the Arcadian mood and the classical poses of Corot's figures recall Poussin, one would never confuse the Silenus with a work of the seventeenth century. Details in the Silenus are depicted with a nineteenth-century realism. The flowers in the foreground or the leaves to the left of center are more sharply focused and precisely rendered than similar details in any work by Poussin. Furthermore, the lighthearted mood and the scale of figures to landscape in the Silenus is more eighteenth than seventeenth century and recalls the eighteenth-century Portrait of Mademoiselle Prévost in the Role of a Bacchante (figure 3)9 by Jean Raoux, in which large trees tower above the frolicking dancers.Perhaps the most immediate source of inspiration for Corot was contemporary French ballet. As an avid balletomane, Corot must have seen a bacchanale, a short ballet which was very popular in the 1830s as a divertissement during the intermission of major performances. An 1820 etching by Casartelli (figure 4) illustrates movements and costumes from a bacchanale invented by Carlo Blasis.10 It is tempting to suppose Corot might have seen and sketched similarly clad dancers and thought of them when creating his Silenus. If Corot was thinking of or inspired by the ballet, this may then also account in part for the backdrop-like quality of the surrounding forest.Corot's Silenus was a major attempt to create a monumental work in the grand tradition of the French Salon. Following the Silenus, Corot continued to paint Arcadian scenes, but now on a less pretentious scale. His later attempt at a Silenus subject, the 1850 Dance of the Nymphs in the Louvre (figure 5) brings to mind more the intimacy of Watteau than the grandeur of Poussin.In the same year in which Corot submitted Silenus to the Paris Salon, Delacroix exhibited The Fanatics of Tangiers (figure 6).11 In many ways the two works are antitheses of one another. One depicts a bucolic scene with graceful figures in ballet-like stances, while the other shows fanatical dervishes in contorted postures. Despite their differences, however, both works reflect a romantic preference for exotic subjects far removed in time and place. Corot went back to ancient Greece to find his subject, while Delacroix journeyed to North Africa.The unusual subject of Delacroix's painting was explained in the 1838 Salon catalogue as follows:
These fanatics are called Yssaouis, after Ben Yssa, their founder. At certain periods they gather outside the towns, and, working themselves up with prayer and frenzied cried, get into a truly drunken state. Then, spreading into the streets, they abandon themselves to a thousand contortions and often to dangerous acts.12
Actually the fanatics are the Aïssaouas, disciples of the marabout Sidi-Mohanned-ben-Aïssa, who founded a religious sect in the seventeenth century in Meknès.Delacroix actually observed the Aïssaouas in 1832 while on a journey to North Africa with the Comte de Mornay. Surprisingly, however, there are no surviving references in either Delacroix's or the Comte de Mornay's journals or letters recording this extraordinary procession. In 1869 Philippe Burty recalled the day when the Comte de Mornay allowed him to leaf through his album of Delacroix's sketches. Coming upon one depicting a procession of fanatics, the Comte told Burty that he and Delacroix had witnessed the scene flat on their bellies in an attic, looking through poorly joined slats of the attic window. Had their presence been suspected, both would have been hacked to pieces.13In the Louvre there is a drawing by Delacroix (figure 7)14 that appears to be a rapid sketch of the fanatics which Delacroix made on the spot. The contorted poses of the figures in this sketch are the progenitors of the ones in the Institute painting.In the summer of 1832, immediately following his North African journey and while in quarantine at Toulon, Delacroix carefully executed eighteen watercolors for an album recording the highlights of the mission.15 This album was presented to the Comte de Mornay by Delacroix himself and was likely the one seen years later by Philippe Burty. One of the watercolors (figure 8)16 foreshadows the Institute's painting begun some four to five years later.Compared with the Mornay watercolor, the composition of the Salon version of The Fanatics of Tangiers is more carefully calculated. In the painting the strong centrifugal energy of the wildly gesturing fanatics is controlled by the classical calm and stability of the surrounding buildings. The spectators, in a semi-circle around the fanatics, focus the viewer's attention on the central figures and again help to contain their energy. Coloristically the same phenomenon occurs as the brilliant colors of the procession are surrounded by the white masonry and the white robes of the spectators to the far left and right. In the earlier Mornay watercolor, the placement of the spectators was more casual, and the controlling static energy of the architecture was partly dissipated by the open city gate to the right, a detail Delacroix eliminated in the painting. Delacroix also gave the painting a stronger focus by adding a central figure whose vehement gesture and brilliant white shirt capture the eye.17Twenty years later Delacroix executed another painting of the same subject (figure 9),18 which is now in the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. Here the surrounding controls of architecture and spectators have been virtually eliminated and the fervor of the fanatics becomes paramount.In executing The Fanatics of Tangiers for the Salon of 1838, Delacroix paid careful attention to details of costume and religious custom. The sheik, the serene leader of the procession, is shown on horseback next to a green flag, the color of Islam. The child moving ahead of the onslaught is shaven except for the lock by which Allah can pull him up to heaven. The women watch from their traditional outposts on the terraces, and the unveiled woman to the upper right is surely a Jewess. Delacroix's keen eye also recorded in the seemingly wild gestures of the six central Aïssaouas, exaggerations by three of them of the ritualistic gestures of a devout Muslim at prayer.How was this fervent display of Moroccan religious life received by the critics of the Salon of 1838? Planche in the Revue du XIXe Siècle, realizing the importance of the artist and his work, devoted a very long article to this painting, in which he praised the colors and the composition but considered the whole an unfinished work. He admonished Delacroix to select the works that he sent to the Salon with more care or to be prepared to face the public clamoring for more carefully executed paintings.19 Decamps, in Le National, defended Delacroix against the public's lack of judgment in disliking the subject matter and its realistic interpretation by the artist.20 Thoré in Revue de Paris mentioned the Fanatics among the small canvases in the Salon that were freely painted with burning colors. He found the subject matter most suitable to the dramatic sway of Delacroix's talent.21 Mercey in Revue des Deux Mondes was full of admiration for the soul Delacroix painted into his figures and the tumultuous life of the scene but reminded the painter that the Fanatics was but another in the small series of sketches he had exhibited and that a work lives also by the correctness of its proportions and the exact harmony between its various parts.22The critics of 1838 were quite correct in observing The Fanatics of Tangiers to be unfinished and sketch-like. Although a later generation would observe the same qualities and praise them,23 in 1838 such qualities were singled out as errors to be corrected. Interestingly, Thoré reflected the official Salon taste for monumental paintings as he cited the thirty-nine by fifty-two inch Fanatics as a small work.The reign of Louis-Philippe (1830-1848) marked an increasing conservatism in French art. At the annual Salon exhibitions, the King had done away with the eclectic jury instituted by his predecessor in favor of the more reactionary Académie des Beaux-Arts, which was put in charge of admissions and prizes.24 If Corot had not chosen a very prudent course, reflected in his Silenus, he might not have been able to exhibit at the Salons under Louis-Philippe. His small private works, in which he was freer and more naturalistic, would probably have been refused, as Rousseau's landscapes were from 1836 to 1849. Delacroix was bolder in his affront to the predominant academic taste. One suspects, however, that even Delacroix considered the strong critical attention his works would receive at the Salon. The Fanatics is filled with pentimenti and apparently Delacroix worked on it for over a year before exhibiting it at the Salon.25 The differences between Corot's and Delacroix's carefully worked out entries to the Salon of 1836 (figures 1 and 6) and their less tightly structured 1850s versions of the same subjects (figures 5 and 9) may in part reflect the general liberation felt throughout France following the 1848 overthrow of Louis-Phillippe.French translations for this article were done by Ronald Richardson.Gregory Hedberg, Curator of Paintings at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, is a graduate of Princeton and The Institute of Fine Arts. Mr. Hedberg has spent several summers at the American Academy in Rome and was lecturer at The Frick Collection in New York before coming to Minneapolis.Marion Hirschler received her M.A. from the Institute of Fine Arts. Although residing in New York, she is presently the Research Consultant for the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.Endnotes
  1. Oil on canvas, 97-1/2 in. x 70-1/2 in., signed and dated lower right, "C. Corot 1838." Provenance: Sale, Hôtel Drouot, Feb. 19, 1877, p. 4, no. 5, to Jean Dollfus; Dollfus Sale, Galerie George Petit, Paris, March 2, 1912, p. 16 (4) to James J. Hill, St. Paul; Louis W. Hill; Jerome Hill. Etched by Alfred Taiée, lithograph published by Caboche.Exhibitions: Salon, Paris, 1838, no. 341; A Century of Progress (Art Institute of Chicago, 1934), no. 168; The James J. Hill Collection (Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1958); Corot (Art Institute of Chicago, 1960), no. 45; Barbizon Revisited (California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco); Toledo Museum of Art; Cleveland Museum; Museum of Fine Arts Boston, 1962-1963); The Barbizon School (Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1975).References: F. Mercey, "Le Salon de 1838," Revue des Deux Mondes, 14 (May 1, 1838), pp. 401-402; T. Thoré, "Le Salon de 1838," Revue de Paris, 53 (May 6, 1838), pp. 57-58; G. Planche, "Salon de 1838," Revue du XIXe Siècle (reprinted in Études sur l'École française [Paris, 1855], vol. 2, pp. 141-142); A. Robaut, L'Oeuvre de Corot (Paris, 1905; reprint ed., Paris, 1965), vol. 1, p. 82; vol. 2, pp. 132, 133 and no. 368 (illus.); vol. 4, pp. 167, 355; E. Moreau-Nélaton, History de Corot (Paris, 1905), pp. 73-74, 75 and fig. 70, p. 376; Bulletin de l'Art, 14 (March 9, 1912), p. 77; A. F. Jaccaci, "Figure Pieces of Corot in America," Art in America, 1 (1913), pp. 77-78; E. Moreau-Nélaton, Corot, Raconté par lui même (Paris, 1924), vol. 1, p. 44, fig. 67 (hereafter E. Moreau-Nélaton, Corot); J. Meier-Graefe, Corot (Berlin, 1930), p. 49; Georges de Tray (pseud., François Fosca) Corot (Paris, 1930), p. 158, plate 23; G. Bazin, Corot (Paris, 1942), pp. 8 and 115, no. 43, plate 43; G. Bazin, Corot (Paris, 1951), pp. 8, 42, 106 and 123, pl. 51; M. Sérullaz, Corot (Paris, 1951), p. 7; R. Davis, "The Collection of James J. Hill," Minneapolis Institute of Arts Bulletin, 47, no. 2 (April-June, 1958), pp. 24, 26; R. L. Herbert, Barbizon Revisited (Boston, 1962), pp. 87 and 91, no. 4 (illus.); J. Leymarie, Corot (Cleveland, 1966), pp. 60-61; Minneapolis Institute of Arts Bulletin, vol. 60 (1971-1973), p. 104, fig. 2; "La Chronique des Arts," Gazette des beaux-Arts, 86 (March, 1975), pp. 42-43, no. 158 (illus.); H. Toussaint, G. Monnier and M. Servot, Hommage à Corot (Paris, 1975), pp. 81, 83, 181.
  2. Virgil, Eclogue VI:14, trans., H. R. Fairclough (Cambridge, Mass., 1960), p. 43. It is interesting to note that apparently Corot loved the Eclogues of Virgil and carried a copy of Virgil on his travels. See P. Courthion and P. Cailler, Les grands artistes vus par eux-mêmes et par leurs amis (Paris, 1946), vol. 2, p. 127 and Moreau-Nélaton, Corot (Paris, 1924), vol. 2, p. 130.
  3. F. Mercey, "Le Salon de 1838," Revue des Deux Mondes, 14 (May 1, 1838), pp. 401-402.
  4. T. Thoré, "Le Salon de 1838," Revue de Paris, 53 (May 6, 1838), pp. 57-58.
  5. E. S. Delécluze, "Salon de 1838," Journal des Débats (April 27, 1838).
  6. Anonymous, L'Artiste, 15 (February-April, 1838), p. 135 (reprinted in A. Coquis, Corot et la critique contemporaine [Paris, 1959], p. 23).
  7. G. Planche, "Salon de 1838," Revue du XIXe Siècle (reprinted in Études sur l'École française [Paris, 1855], vol. 2, pp. 141-142).
  8. Toussaint, op. cit., p. 81. It is interesting to note that in his own private collection Corot had a painting and several engravings after Poussin. See Robaut, op. cit., vol. 4, p. 255, no. 610; p. 264, no. 858, no. 879.
  9. Oil on canvas, 82-1/2 in. x 63-3/4 in.; signed and dated "J. R. (aoux. F. 1723)," elements between parentheses visible before 1939-1940; Tours, Musée des Beaux-Arts, 872-1-1. Françoise Prévost (1690/95-1741) was a ballet dancer known for her successful choreography and her love affairs.
  10. This etching was printed in Carlo Biasis, Traité élémentaire, théorique et pratique de l' art de la danse (Milan, 1820), p. 107, pl. XIV. The figures show the principal group in a bacchanale invented by Blasis himself (see Brian Reade, Ballet Designs and Illustrations 1581-1940, Victoria and Albert Museum Exhibition, [London, 1967], p. 27, plate no. 80).
  11. Oil on canvas, 38-1/2 in. x 51-5/8 in., signed and dated lower right in green block letters, "EUG... LACROIX, 1838." Above this is a second signature in brown script, "EUG. Delacroix" (see illustration). Provenance: Van Isacker; Van Isacker Sale, May 15, 1852, to M. Jourdan; by 1855 to M. Mala; Marquis du Lau, Marquis du Lau Sale, Hôtel Drouot, May 5, 1869, no. 6 to Edwards; Edwards Sale, Hôtel Drouot, March 7, 1870, no. 5-withdrawn; Edwards Sale, Hôtel Drouot, Feb. 24, 1881, no. 16 (illus.), to M. Balensi (see Robaut, no. 662) or Feder (catalogue note); by1885 to M. Faure; by1889 to George I. Seney, New York; by 1895 to James J. Hill, St. Paul; Louis W. Hill; Jerome Hill. Etched by Laguillermie for the Galerie Durand-Ruel in 1878.Exhibitions: Salon (Paris, 1838), p. 55, no. 457; Exposition Universelle (Paris, 1855), p. 187, no. 2933; Exposition du Cercle de la rue de Choiseul, April, 1964 (see P. Burry, "Exposition ...." Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 16 [1864], pp. 366-368); Oeuvres d'Eugène Delacroix, Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Boulevard des Italiens (not in catalogue, but see Joseph Henry de Coilet, baron de la Madelène, Eugène Delacroix à l'Exposition du Boulevard des Italiens [Paris, 1864], pp. 10, 30); Exposition (Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1878), p. 145; Exposition (École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1885), no. 77; Works of A.-L. Barye (American Art Galleries, 1889-1890), no. 581; Loan Exhibition, Delacroix (Art Institute of Chicago, 1930), no. 8; Exposition Eugène Delacroix (Louvre, Paris, 1930), no. 85; Courbet and Delacroix (Marie Harriman Gallery, New York, 1933), no. 16; A Century of Progress (Art Institute of Chicago, 1934), no. 190; French Romantic Artists (San Francisco Museum of Art, 1939), no. 35; World's Fair (New York, 1940), no. 248; Exhibition of Private Collectors (Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1941); Delacroix and Renoir (Paul Rosenberg and Co., New York, 1948), no. 2; The James J. Hill Collection (Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1958); Delacroix (Art Gallery of Toronto and National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 1962-1963), no. 7; p. 53; Centenaire d'Eugène Delacroix (Louvre, Paris, 1963), p. 89, no. 259 (post-exhibition catalogue, Memorial, pp. 190-192, no. 255, fig. 255); The Past Rediscovered (Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1969), no. 27, color illus.References: E.J. Delécluze, "Salon de 1838," Journal des Débats (March 8, 1838); A. Decamp, "Salon de 1838," Le National (March 18, 1838); T. Gautier, "Salon de 1838," La Presse (March 22, 1838); G. Planche, "Salon de 1838," Revue du XIXe Siècle, 6 (April 1, 1838), p. 20 (reprinted in Études sur l'École française (Paris, 1855), vol. 2, p. 109-112); T. Thoré, "Salon de 1838," Journal du Peuple, feuille du dimanche (April 1, 1838); F. Mercey, "Salon de 1838," Revue des Deux Mondes, 14 (May 1, 1838), p. 385; T. Thoré, "Salon de 1838," Revue de Paris, 53 (May 6, 1838), p. 55; E. and J. de Goncourt, "La peinture à l'Exposition Universelle," Études d'Art (Paris, 1855), pp. 196-197; T. Gautier, Moniteur Universal (July 19 and July 25, 1855), reprinted in Les Beaux-Arts en Europe (Paris, 1855), vol. 1, pp. 181-182; E. Gebaüer, Les Beaux-Arts à l'Exposition Universelle (Paris, 1855), p. 37; M. du Camp, Les Beaux-Arts en 1855 (Paris, 1855), pp. 90, 111; [A. Piron] Eugène Delacroix (Paris, 1865), p. 107; P. Burty, "La Collection du Lau," Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 1 (May, 1869), pp. 474-475; A. Moreau, Eugène Delacroix (Paris, 1873), pp. 177, no. 457 and 191, 268; T. Silvestre, Les Artistes français, rev. ed. (Paris, 1926), vol. 2, p. 173; A. Robaut, L'Oeuvre complet de Eugène Delacroix (Paris, 1885; reprinted New York, 1969); pp. 23, 34, 134, and 179, no. 662; M. Tourneux, Eugène Delacroix (Paris, 1886), pp. 67-68, 94-98, 145; Paul Bourget, Outre-Mer: Impressions of America (New York, 1895); E. Moreau-Nélaton, Delacroix (Paris, 1916), vol. 1, pp. 164, fig. 171 and 191-192; vol. 2, pp. 156, 168, 194; J. Meier-Graefe, Eugène Delacroix (Munich, 1922), p. 128; R. Escholier, Delacroix (Paris, 1926-1927), vol. 2, pp. 72-75, 239 (illus.), and 242; "Three Paintings of North Africa by Delacroix," Minneapolis Institute of Arts Bulletin, 32, no. 10 (March, 1943), pp. 34-35; G. De Batz, Eugène Delacroix, Wildenstein Exhibition (New York, 1944), p. 24; J. Cassou, Delacroix (Paris, 1947), no. 18, plates 18 and 19; J. Lassaigne, Eugène Delacroix (New York, 1950), pp. 14-15, pl. 21; V. Christoffel, Eugène Delacroix (Munich, 1951), p. 49; R. Davis, "The Collection of James J. Hill," Minneapolis Institute of Arts Bulletin, 47, no. 2 (April-June, 1958), pp. 22, 23 (illus.), 27; L. Eitner, "Hommage to Delacroix," Apollo, 77 (Jan., 1963), pp. 33-34, fig. 2; L. Johnson, "Delacroix's North African Pictures," Canadian Art, 83, (Jan.-Feb., 1963), p. 24; L. Johnson, "The Delacroix Centenary in France," Burlington Magazine, 105 (July, 1963), pp. 301-302; R. Huyghe, Delacroix (London, 1963), pp. 293, 303, 333 (fig. 228 [detail]), 403 (pl. XLV [color illus.]), 535; R. Escholier, Delacroix (Paris, 1963), pp. 78, 112, 183; M. Sérullaz, Memorial de l'Exposition Eugène Delacroix (Paris, 1963), pp. 190-192, no. 255, fig. 255; L. Eitner and L. Johnson, Delacroix, Royal Academy of Arts Exhibition (London, 1964), pp. 11, 38, 57; G. Marchiori, Delacroix (Florence, 1969), p. 34, nos. 38-39; F. A. Trapp, The Attainment of Delacroix (Baltimore, 1970), pp. 116, 138 (fig. 69), 139, 141; M. Sérullaz, Eugène Delacroix (New York, 1971), pp. 21 (fig. 18), 42; Minneapolis Institute of Arts Bulletin, 60 (1971-1973), p. 104, fig. 3; "La Chronique des Arts," Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 86 (March, 1975), p. 81.
  12. Salon 1838, Official Catalogue (Paris, 1838), p. 55, no. 457.
  13. Philippe Burty, "La Collection du Lau," Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 1 (May, 1869), pp. 474-475. According to M. Arama (see M. Sérullaz, Memorial de l'Exposition Eugène Delacroix [Paris, 1963], p. 190) this scene should have occurred at Meknès where the marabout lies buried. In the Mornay watercolor, the sheik is seen next to a white flag, that of the Sultan, which also might suggest that the event took place in Meknès. However, in the nineteenth century, processions of Fanatics did occur outside Meknès, for in 1845 T. Gautier (see Les Beaux-Arts en Europe [Paris, 1855], vol. 1, pp. 181-182) saw a similar procession at Blidah, 32 miles southwest of Algiers. Mr. Armand Moss (author of Baudelaire and Delacroix [Paris, 1973]) kindly gave his opinion to the authors that Delacroix most likely saw these fanatics in Tangiers where he could circulate without armed escort, as was the case in Meknès. Mrs. Moss noted that to this day Tangiers is an important meeting place for these dervishes who go from town to town to perform and ask for alms.
  14. Black lead, watercolor and sepia wash, 5-3/4 in. x 8-1/16 in., seal lower left, "E.D."Provenance: Delacroix sale, 1864 (M. Sérullaz, op. cit., p. 191, suggests perhaps part of posthumous sale no. 336; Robaut, p. 426, no. 1669, records this lot contained 5 drawings and sketches for Fanatics of Tangiers and was sold to M. Petit); Moreau-Nélaton, 1927 to Louvre, RF 10 069.Exhibitions: Centenaire d' Eugène Delacroix (Louvre, Paris, 1963), p. 89, no. 260 (post-exhibition catalogue, op. cit., pp. 191-193, no. 256, fig. 256).References: L. Johnson, Delacroix (Toronto, 1962), p. 23; L. Eitner and L. Johnson, Delacroix (London, 1964), p. 38.
  15. Joubin, Delacroix, Correspondence General (Paris, 1935), vol. 1, p. 334, note 2.
  16. Watercolor, 7 in. x 8-5/8 in., signed lower left, "EUG. Delacroix." Location unknown.Provenance: Comte du Mornay; Mornay Sale, March 29, 1877, no. 11; 1885 to M. Alfred Hartmann; Hartmann Sale, April 12-15, 1899, no. 154; Baron Vitta; Baron Vitta Sale, Galerie Jean Charpentier, Paris, March 15, 1935, no. 2 (illus.).Exhibition: Exposition Eugène Delacroix (Louvre, Paris, 1930), no. 349.References: Robaut, op. cit., p. 134 (no. 502), p. 487 (no. 502), dated 1934; R. Escholier, Delacroix (Paris, 1927), vol. 2, pp. 72-73 (illus.); Centenaire d'Eugène Delacroix (Louvre, Paris, 1963), p. 89; M. Sérullaz, op. cit., (Paris, 1963), pp. 190-191; R. Huyghe, Delacroix (London, 1963), pp. 293, 303, 535; R. Escholier, Delacroix (Paris, 1963), p. 112; L. Johnson, Delacroix (Toronto, 1962), p. 23; L. Eitner and L. Johnson, Delacroix (London, 1964), p. 38.
  17. There is another drawing by Delacroix that might relate to the Institute's painting. At the time of the 1964 Delacroix exhibition in London, Lee Johnson suggested a drawing lent by Sir Edward Boyle, Sussex, was a preliminary study for the Fantatics. It is the authors' opinion, however, that this drawing is not related. In the Boyle sketch (see L. Eitner and L. Johnson, Delacroix [London, 1964], pp. 38 and 57, no. 139, pl. 72), all three figures focus on something and draw back in horror at what they see. In contrast, the central figures in the Louvre sketch, the Mornay watercolor, and the Institute's painting appear less directed in their movements and not as classical in their facial expressions.
  18. Oil on canvas, 18-3/8 in. x 22-3/16 in., signed and dated left of center on step: "Eug. Delacroix 1857" (see M. Sérullaz, op. cit., pp. 374-375, no. 490).
  19. G. Planche, "Salon de 1838," Revue du XIXe Siècle, 6 (April 1, 1838), p. 20 (reprinted in Études sur l'École française [Paris, 1855], vol. 2, pp. 109-112).
  20. A. Decamps, "Salon de 1838," Le National March 18, 1838.
  21. T. Thoré, "Salon de 1838," Revue de Paris, 53 (May 6, 1838), p. 55.
  22. F. Mercey, "Salon de 1838," Revue des Deux Mondes, 14 (May 1, 1838), p. 385.
  23. The Fanatics of Tangiers did not receive critical attention again until it was shown at the Exposition Universelle of 1855. The critics were now more favorably disposed towards the painting. Edmond and Jules de Goncourt in Études d'Art pick the Fanatics of Tangiers to illustrate in general terms the most salient points of Delacroix's art. They note that the movement which Delacroix gives to everything keeps him from that which is finished and precise. In the Moniteur Universal Théophile Gautier declared that if he himself had not seen the Aïssaouas contort themselves and carry on the most incredible acts, he would have perhaps charged the Fanatics of Tangiers with being exaggerated. He was of the opinion that this canvas revealed an unbelievable turbulence of movement, a ferocity of brushstroke unsurpassed by anyone; but mainly a warm color, transparent and light, pleasant enough to moderate what the subject might have that is horrible and repugnant.
  24. See T. Gosselin, Histoire Anexdotique des Salons de Peinture, 1673-1855 (Paris, 1881), pp. 149-150; Germain Bazin, "Le Salon de 1830 à 1900," Scritti di storia dell'arte in onore di Lionello Venturi (Rome, 1956), vol. 2, pp. 117-123.
  25. Although not exhibited until the spring of 1838, Delacroix had apparently begun work on the Fanatics sometime between January, 1836, and February 18, 1837. In January, 1836, he sent a document, probably to a critic, that gave a retrospective resume of his career, but did not mention the Fanatics. On February 18, 1837, according to Joubin, Delacroix sent a similar document to the critic Theophile Thoré. This time, Delacroix notes the Fanatics of Tangiers as among five works "non encore exposes ou pas achevés." See P. B. Burty, Lettres de Eugène Delacroix (Paris, 1878), pp. 138-139, 383; Moreau-Nélaton, Delacroix (Paris, 1916), vol. 1, pp. 162-164; and Joubin, Correspondance General (Paris, 1935), vol. 1, p. 427.
Referenced Works of Art
  1. Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
    French, 1796-1875
    Silenus, 1838
    Oil on canvas, 97-1/2 in. x 70-1/2 in.
    Bequest of Jerome Hill 73.42.3
  2. Nicolas Poussin, Copy after
    French, 1594 (?) - 1665
    Triumph of Silenus
    Oil on canvas, 56-1/2 in. x 47-3/4 in.
    The National Gallery, London
    Photo: Reproduced by courtesy of the Trustees
  3. Jean Raoux
    French, 1677-1734
    Portrait of Mademoiselle Prévost in the Role of a Bacchante, 1723
    Oil on canvas, 82-1/4 in. x 63-3/4 in.
    Musée des Beaux-Arts, Tours, 872-1-1
    Photo: Lauros-Giraudon
  4. Casartelli
    Active first-half nineteenth century
    Bacchanale, 1820
    Etching (Detail, 4-1/4 in. x 10 in.)
    Carlo Blasis, Traité élémentaire, théorique et pratique de l'art de la danse, Milan, 1820, pl. XIV.
    Photo: Lincoln Center Branch, New York Public Library, New York
  5. Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
    French, 1796-1875
    Dance of the Nymphs, 1850
    Oil on canvas, 38-5/8 in. x 51-1/2 in.
    Musée du Louvre, Paris
    Photo: Cliché des Musées Nationaux, RF 73
  6. Ferdinand-Victor-Eugène Delacroix
    French, 1798-1863
    Fanatics of Tangiers, 1836-1838
    Oil on canvas, 38-1/2 in. x 51-5/8 in.
    Bequest of Jerome Hill 73.42.3
  7. Ferdinand-Victor-Eugène Delacroix
    French, 1798-1863
    Sketch for Fanatics of Tangiers
    Black lead, watercolor and sepia wash, 5-3/4 in. x 8-1/16 in.
    Musée de Louvre, Paris, RF 10 069
  8. Ferdinand-Victor-Eugène Delacroix
    French, 1798-1863
    Fanatics of Tangiers, 1832
    Watercolor, 7 in. x 8-5/8 in.
    Location unknown
  9. Ferdinand-Victor-Eugène Delacroix
    French, 1798-1863
    Fanatics of Tangiers, 1857
    Oil on canvas, 18-3/8 in. x 22 3-1/6 in.
    The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto 62.5
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Source: Gregory Hedberg and Marion Hirschler, "The Jerome Hill Bequest: Corot's Silenus and Delacroix's Fanatics of Tangiers," <i>The Minneapolis Institute of Arts Bulletin</i> 61 (1974): 92-103.
Rights: ©MIA
Added to Site: March 10, 2009