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Eugène Delacroix, Abel Widmer

Key facts
Full title Abel Widmer
Artist Eugène Delacroix
Artist dates 1798 - 1863
Date made about 1824
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 59.7 × 48.3 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1918
Inventory number NG3287
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Abel Widmer
Eugène Delacroix

This lively and engaging portrait shows Abel Widmer (1805–1838), a pupil at the Institution Saint-Victor, a secondary school for boys in Paris. It was probably painted around 1824, the year Widmer won the school’s annual prize. It is most likely the first of a series of ten portraits of the prizewinners commissioned by the school’s founder and friend of Delacroix, Prosper-Parfait Goubaux (1795–1859). Six of the portraits are known to survive. Delacroix was a young man in his mid-twenties when he painted the portrait, and he was still forging his own style, looking at Old Masters such as Velázquez for inspiration. Degas so admired the portrait that he acquired it in the 1890s for his own collection.

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