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Lion dévorant un cheval [Lion Devouring a Horse]
31.2 cm x 43.1 cm (12 5/16 in. x 16 15/16 in.)
Eugène Delacroix (aka Ferdinand-Victor-Eugène Delacroix)
(Saint-Maurice, France, 1798 - 1863, Paris)
Medium and Support:
Lithograph on chine collé
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Archer M. Huntington Museum Fund, 1982
A masterpiece of lithography and modern printmaking, Delacroix's Wild Horse Felled by a Tiger, is the first, most dynamic and incomparably expressive animal subject by the great Romantic artist. It is also among Delacroix's rarest prints, one of only seven known impressions in the first state, and so scarce in any of the four states that no other impression has appeared on the market in a generation. Formally, the print stands as a testament to Delacroix's lifelong fascination with animals, particularly his attraction to the majesty and energy of wild cats and horses. The horse's imminent death underscores a Romantic tenet: struggle is necessary in order for life to sustain itself. In addition, the subject is characteristic of the Romantic intrigue with the Orient and with those things exotic and foreign to Western culture. The handling of form, in passages visceral, in others abstract, practically is typical of Delacroix's draughtmanship. Part of the power and urgency of this image comes from its lack of convention in the radical treatment of the ground and sky, rich composites of quite arbitrary marks. The personality of both traditional drawing and this mark-making all epitomize lithography’s potential for individual artistic expression.