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Head of a Young Man (Study for L'Oiseau de passage)
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France, 19th century
Head of a Young Man (Study for L'Oiseau de passage)
Work Type
graphite and red chalk with stylus heightened with white on off-white woven paper
beige wove paper coated with a light gray ground, mounted along right edge to multi-ply board
Sheet: 23.6 x 16.6 cm (9 5/16 x 6 9/16 in.)
Paul Gavarni made this drawing as a study for L'Oiseau de passage (The Bird of Passage) (see photo), one of the lithographs in a series on Parisian courtesans that he produced for the newspaper Paris. The lithograph's title, L'Oiseau de passage, must refer to the young man since messieurs de passage were casual lovers a courtesan might take on to supplement her protector's regular support.
This drawing was once part of the important collection of the artist's work amassed by the writers Edmond (1822-1896) and Jules (1830-1870) de Goncourt. The Goncourts believed Gavarni captured the essence of 19th-century life, and they cited this particular drawing in their Journal, where they called it "the study of this cruel redhead."
across bottom, in graphite: Etude pour l'Oiseau de passage (Planche 20 des Partageuses.); verso, lower right, in graphite: 38-40; lower left, in graphite: gris bleu / noir; on secondary support, lower right, in graphite: jeunehomme / couché; verso of secondary support, upper right, in graphite: Helleu; center right, in black chalk: Vente goncourt / [illegible]; lower left, in blue ink: Etude pour "oiseau de passage", planche 20 des Partageuses / provient du grenier - Vente Goncourt. Collection de peintre Helleu / Racheté à Mlle ["lle" underlined] Paulette Helleu 1933.
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Collection: DR - French
Department: Drawings
Provenance: Edmond and Jules de Goncourt, Paris (Lugt and Lugt Suppl. 1089, lower right, in black ink); [their sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris (30 April-1 May 1897), lot 7]. Paul-César Helleu (1859-1927) (according to inscription on verso of mount); Paulette Helleu (accord
Bequest of Muriel Butkin
Accession Number
Image and original data from The Cleveland Museum of Art
Use of this image is in accordance with the Artstor Terms & Conditions
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