Eugéne Delacroix (1798–1863): Portrait of George Sand
Oil on canvas | 78 x 56.5 cm | 1838
The picture shows us the French author George Sand (pseudonym of Aurore Dupin).
It is one of few portraits painted by Delacroix, and a fragment of a larger, now lost composition – a kind of “romance portrait” – of the lovers George Sand and the composer Frèdèric Chopin. Delacroix probably gathered his two friends around a piano in his studio. Why, when and how the picture was split up is uncertain, but the portrait of Chopin is now in the Louvre in Paris.
The painting is unfinished, but thereby simply underscores an idiom that was already strongly sensual and romantically conceived. George Sand’s body stands out with a radiant presence from the indefinite dark background. The contour is soft and suggestively invites the observer to imagine the shape of the body.
Delacroix insisted on the significance of colour rather than line in painting. His art was a great inspiration to subsequent generations of artists. His close friend the poet Charles Baudelaire said that Delacroix was the supreme master of the evocative expression of passion and poetry in painting.
Motifs: Dramatic history paintings, Oriental scenes, animal paintings and a few portraits.
Read more about Delacroix at The Louvre’s website.