ALEXANDRE-MARIE COLIN (1798-1875)
A SHEET OF STUDIES OF HEADS, AFTER VARIOUS PAINTINGS
With similar studies in black chalk verso
Black chalk and pencil on buff wove paper
7.5 x 21.5 cm
Private collection, Southeast U.K.
The present sheet includes several studies after immediately recognisable works by artists of the 18th and 19th centuries: to the left of the sheet is Greuze’s ‘Le Paralytique service par ses enfants’; further smaller studies include figures likely taken from Colin’s contemporaries and mentors, Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson and Eugène Delacroix; to the right of the sheet are studies after Rembrandt’s etchings of his wife Saskia and Jakob Thomas Haring (the man with moustache and large collar); and to the right above Rembrandt’s portrait of Haring is Van Dyck’s portrait of Hendrik van Balen, derived from Paulus Pontius’ etching.
Alexandre-Marie Colin was a master of densely-grouped, small-scale studies clustered together on a single sheet, in the manner of the ‘head studies’ of earlier artists such as Rembrandt or the Gandolfi. These works were likely intended as works of art in their own right, rather than sheets from which students could learn, and at least one of these - ‘Girodet and his Students’ (c.1817) - was published as a lithograph (see final image above). Similar studies have appeared several times on the art market in recent years, including an outstanding sheet of sketches around a central self-portrait study, previously with Galerie La Nouvelle Athenes, Paris.
Alexandre-Marie Colin began his career as a student in Girodet's studio, and wouldd become a friend of Delacroix, Géricault and Bonington. He met the latter in Normandy in 1821 and accompanied him to England in 1825. A key member of the Romantic school that flourished in the early decades of the 19th century in France, he debuted at the Salon in 1819 and would exhibit there throughout his career.