Gustave Doré

o. J.

About the object

Just imagine: you live alone. You sleep alone. You eat alone. Sometimes, perhaps especially at mealtimes, you miss a counterpart. Could a picture be such a counterpart? And if so, which picture would you like to have opposite you at your dining table?
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Gabriele Rauschning chose this watercolour study by the Strasbourg-born artist, Gustave Doré (1832–1893). The watercolour, which she acquired in 2010, became one of her favourites. She hung it next to the window, just opposite her place at the dining table.

What could it have been that she most liked about it? Perhaps it was the depicted painter’s absolute contemplation? The concentrated calm of the quick, virtuoso pencil sketch? The soft colourfulness of the grey-brown tones? Or the painter's eye-catching, luminous sapphire-blue trousers?

Doré, who made a great name for himself in France in the mid-nineteenth century as an illustrator of literary classics and biblical motifs, is known to have always worked from memory alone in the absence of a model and to have usually just provided sketches for his large-format, printed book illustrations, leaving the actual printmaking to a cohort of woodcutters. The sketches were often washed with a brush and left to the craftsmen who expedited them a somewhat free interpretation. In view of the high turnover of his studio, the artist stamped paintings and prints that he sold with a studio stamp. In the case of this delicate watercolour study, the red stamp on the front of the sheet is most striking.

(Text: Verena Faber)

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