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Eugène Delacroix, Louis-Auguste Schwiter

Key facts
Full title Louis-Auguste Schwiter
Artist Eugène Delacroix
Artist dates 1798 - 1863
Date made 1826-30
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 217.8 × 143.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1918
Inventory number NG3286
Location Central Hall
Collection Main Collection
Louis-Auguste Schwiter
Eugène Delacroix

Delacroix painted this portrait of fellow artist, Louis-Auguste Schwiter (1805–1899), in the early years of their lifelong friendship. Not only was this Delacroix’s first full-length portrait, but it also reveals the close attention he paid to work by British artists such as Thomas Gainsborough (1727–1788) and Thomas Lawrence (1769–1830). These portraits marked a departure from a more formal, heroic style of portraiture whose primary function was often the display of wealth and social status. The use of outdoor locations, such as parks and woodlands, was an important aspect of this new portraiture and Delacroix makes effective use of the dark sky and foliage to highlight areas of bright colour and, perhaps, to hint at Schwiter’s personality. Delacroix submitted the portrait to the Salon of 1827, but it was rejected. It was later bought by Edgar Degas (1834–1917) for his own collection.

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