Description & Technical information

A faint study of a head drawn in pencil upside down on the recto.
A study of legs in pencil on the verso.

The present sheet is thought to be a portrait of the Belgian painter, decorator and poster designer Adolphe Crespin (1859-1944), who was Evenepoel’s teacher at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. Evenepoel painted a portrait of Crespin in 1894, which is today in a private collection, followed two years later by a full-length portrait of Mme. Crespin, now in the Museum voor Schone Kunsten in Ghent. Crespin remained close to the artist throughout his life, and was the only one among his friends to know the truth about the actual parentage of Evenepoel’s illegitimate son, Charles De May.

This caricature may be compared stylistically with several sketches of figures by Evenepoel - including a study of a man walking and another of an artist seated at an easel - formerly in the collection of Roland Leten in Ghent, who is likely to have also owned the present pair of drawings.

Period:  1850-1900, 19th century
Medium: Charcoal
Signature: Stamped with the artist’s monogram 'he' in a circle (not in Lugt) and numbered No.777 on the verso.
Stamped PROVENANT / DE LA COLLECTION: above C. De Mey [handwritten] on the verso.
Faintly stamped with a sale stamp CAMPO VEILING VENTE 1968 H. EVENEPOEL ANTWERPEN on the verso.

Dimensions: 38.4 x 24.3 cm (15¹/₈ x 9⁵/₈ inches)
Provenance: Probably the artist’s cousin, Louise De May-van Mattemburgh, Brussels
By descent to their son, Charles De May, Brussels
Probably Roland Leten, Ghent
Evenepoel (Leten?) sale, Antwerp, Galerie Campo, 3 October 1968
Private collection, England.

Literature: Philippe Roberts-Jones, ‘Evenepoel et l’art de son temps’, in Eliane De Wilde et al, Henri Evenepoel 1872-1899, exhibition catalogue, Brussels, 1994, illustrated p.92 (where dated c.1893).

Categories: Paintings, Drawings & Prints