Delacroix and colour

Musée Eugène-Delacroix

Posted on 5 July 2022

From 13 July 2022 to 23 January 2023, the Musée National Eugène-Delacroix invites visitors to discover its permanent collections through the lens of Delacroix's colours. From the reds and ochres of the Orient to Prussian blue and cobalt green, via the black and white of engraving, this is an opportunity to explore Delacroix's palette in a thematic selection of works by the painter, exhibited in his home and place of creation.

When it comes to colour in painting, the name Eugène Delacroix immediately comes to mind. Indeed, he mixes colours and techniques in a whirlwind of creativity to bring his works to life. The romantic painter described himself as a colourist, writing in his diary: ‘My freshly arranged palette, brilliant with contrasting colours, is enough to fire my enthusiasm’.

'My freshly arranged palette, brilliant with contrasting colours, is enough to fire my enthusiasm'Eugène Delacroix

The presentation of the museum’s collections on the theme of Delacroix and colour invites visitors to embark on a journey to the shimmering heart of an Orient that was ill-defined geographically. Delacroix drew inspiration from the stories and creations of his contemporaries, plunging viewers into a dream-like world seeped in an extraordinary array of colours. In 1832, Delacroix visited Morocco and Algeria and brought back objects –  such as the Fez earthenware exhibited alongside the paintings – clothing, and sketches that were to become a new source of inspiration for him.

After the radiant colours of the Orient, Delacroix and colour then offers a look at the artist’s use of contrasting black and white through the technique of engraving. Delacroix used engraving as a means of creating and distributing his work at a time when painters rarely practiced this medium. In his lithographs, he blended black and white through a set of energetic lines, hatchings and dots that bring the works to life.

Eugène Delacroix, Portrait présumé du chanteur Barroilhet en costume oriental Musée national Eugène-Delacroix

The highlight of the exhibition is Delacroix's studio, where the painter's palette is honoured through a selection of works that pay tribute to colour and its many nuances. The canvases displayed here vibrate thanks to a skillful juxtaposition of colours in different shades or small, spirited strokes. The painter's last studio radiates with a whirlwind of colour.

The visit ends with the discovery of Eugène Delacroix's delightful garden. A veritable living palette, this natural setting is a haven of calm in the heart of Paris.

During this period dedicated to colour, the museum has devoted one of its rooms to contemporary art. Throughout the summer, students from the Beaux-Arts de Paris are given carte blanche to recreate Eugène Delacroix's bedroom. Autumn is devoted to the PhotoSaintGermain festival, during which the artist Antoine Henault is invited to bring colour and photography to life in a presentation of a selection of his photographs chosen in relation to the work of Delacroix.

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