P. 96x148mm., S. 180x270mm.
Provenance: a private Parisian collection
Delacroix devoted great attention to rendering animal form (cf. Sérullaz et al., Dessins d'Eugène Delacroix, 1984) and his early efforts in printmaking reveal a firm commitment to the resolution of technical problems in the graphic treatment of tonal values and line. This plate represents his first attempt to translate the feline figure in this medium.
Whereas the first four working states are quite sketchy, more like exercises in seeking textural effect than finished works, this definitive state is to be counted among his more accomplished realisations in this sense.
It should be noted that this print was never published in Delacroix's lifetime. According to Delteil, Laurent Dumont acquired the plate from Eugène Piot in June 1890, and most of the impressions that we have examined, including that of the Moreau-Nelaton collection (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris) on antique blue-green laid paper, are ostensibly from this edition (to our knowledge the sole edition, about 40 impressions), and are clearly not as fine. The importance of the present proof, although posthumous, is thus to be stressed.
* Delteil identifies six states, although François Fossier notes seven, without explicitly defining them; see the exhibition catalogue De Corot aux Impressionnistes, donations Moreau-Nélaton, Bibliothèque Nationale, 1991