- Museum number
Sketch of four soldiers, possibly for the painting 'The Execution of Maximillian'; four soldiers standing in a circle, rifles slung over their shoulders
Graphite and grey wash, with brush and ink on squared paper
- Production date
- 1870 (c)
Height: 165 millimetres
Width: 114 millimetres (sight)
- Curator's comments
- This drawing is no. 3294A in the National Gallery Illustrated General Catalogue, where its possible relationship to the painting is considered, but concludes that it was more probably drawn in a different context.
From Juliet Wilson Bareau (email 9 December 2008). This drawing is almost certainly a page from a sketchbook of the early 1870s (Manet only used squared notebook paper in or after 1870). It appears to come from a group of drawings made in 1871, when Manet left Paris (in February) to rejoin his family in Oloron-Sainte-Marie, in the western Pyrenees, at the end of the Franco-Prussian War, after which the family spent a month at Arcachon, near Bordeaux, in March 1871.
The drawing, a single page torn from a sketchbook of squared paper with rounded corners, measures 185 h. x 120 w. mm (dimensions checked, with the sheet unframed, at the NG), and would therefore correspond exactly with the double-page drawing catalogued in Rouart & Wildenstein, vol. II, no. 317, as ‘Soldats se rendant aux avant-postes (1870)’ – probably incorrect date – measuring 185 x 240 mm. (This drawing, in a private collection in Paris, was in the Rouart family collection and is reproduced in R. Rey, Choix de soixante-quatre dessins d’Edouard Manet, Paris, 1932, p. 37. It is still among a number of sheets from the same album.)
On the verso of the NG/BM drawing, in the horizontal format, is a very slight drawing of a soldier’s head, over a low, flat (Arcachon?) landscape or seascape.
On the old millboard backing is a ‘Bordereau d’adjudication’ dated 7 May 1926. This is the date of the anonymous Pellerin sale at the Hôtel Drouot, Paris, where the sheet was acquired by ‘Madame Bucher’ (not Buchier) for 1400 fr. + 273 fr. = 1673 fr. It is catalogued under no. 53 as ‘Les gardes nationaux’, is reproduced, and described as a ‘Dessin au crayon noir, rehaussé d’un ton bleu’, with measurements recorded as 170 x 110 mm (which corresponds with the indication for the mount window, ’11 x 17’, inscribed on the drawn sheet). The graphite number ‘19’ (probably not autograph), inscribed at lower right, may indicate the page number in the original sketchbook.
The drawing is or was accompanied (in the NG Dossier 3294A) by a photocopy (or the original?) of the page from the sale catalogue, with the starting and adjudication prices ‘800 / 1400’ added by hand, and by a note, citing A.Tabarant, Paris, 1947, p. 190, where the drawing is described (as in the sale catalogue). The provenance of the drawing as known to date is: Madame Suzanne Manet; Auguste Pellerin, Paris (to 1926); Madame Bucher, Paris; Hart, England. The drawing does not appear to have been marked with the studio stamp (Lugt 880), but Suzanne Manet sold many drawings through Antonin Proust or directly to Vollard and some of these escaped stamping. (Most of the Manet drawings in the Louvre, sold to Pellerin in five ‘albums factices’ put together by A. Proust in 1899, were acquired by the museum at the Pellerin sale, Galerie Charpentier, Paris, 10 June 1954).
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- This item has an uncertain or incomplete provenance for the years 1933-45. The British Museum welcomes information and assistance in the investigation and clarification of the provenance of all works during that era.
This drawing was part of the Hart bequest to the National Gallery in 1970. It was formally transferred to the Department of Prints and Drawings by the National Gallery in 1994. Labels on the back of the frame indicate it may have been owned by Madame Buchier in Paris in 1926, and a later label was affixed by Lord's Gallery, 26 Wellington Road, London NW 8 (nd). The labels will be placed in the department's dossier on this drawing.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: NG.3294.a