A 200-year-old family collection of largely unseen Théodore Géricault paintings heads to auction


Seven works by the French painter Théodore Géricault, known for his work The Raft of the Medusa (1818-19) housed at the Musée du Louvre in Paris, will go under the hammer at Sotheby’s Paris next month (23 March). The auction presents “the largest collection of unseen works by Géricault that has ever come to the market since the 19th century”, a Sotheby’s statement says.

The works all come from the Elmore collection, a 19th-century London-based couple who commissioned the seven works from the artist that have remained in the family collection for more than 200 years.

Géricault stayed with Adam Elmore (1784-1849), a horse dealer, and his wife Zoé, daughter of the French businessman Armand Séguin, at their home in London in 1821, striking up a close friendship with the couple. During his time in the UK, Géricault developed his equine portrayal techniques, studying the thoroughbreds owned by Elmores. “The Géricault Elmore collection has been lovingly preserved by the descendants of the Elmore family for 200 years,” according to a Sotheby’s statement.

Théodore Géricault’s Adam Elmore on the Shore Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Works consigned include Adam Elmore on the Shore (estimate €400,000-€600,000), a full-length portrait, which Sotheby’s says, “reflects the influence of English painting on [Géricault’s] art”. Portrait of Zoé Elmore, painted in 1821, carries the highest estimate (€800,000-€1.2m); another work, Zoé on Horseback, shows the side-saddled rider galloping against a darkening sky (est €400,000-€600,000).

Géricault meanwhile reworked a painting by the 18th-century French artist Pierre Subleyras known as Martyr of Saint Hippolytus, modernising and altering the horse in the composition, “significantly changing the direction and impact [of the work]”, Sotheby’s says (estimate €300,000-€500,000).

The auction record for Géricault stands at $11.5m for Portrait of Alfred and Elisabeth Dedreux (around 1818) which was sold at Christie’s Paris in 2009.


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