The Horse L’Eclatant in a Stable
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Eugène-Louis LAMI

The Horse L’Eclatant in a Stable

Stephen Ongpin Fine Art

Date 1839

Period 19th century

Origin Paris

Medium Watercolour, over an underdrawing in black chalk.

Dimension 38 x 45.6 cm (15 x 18 inches)

This large watercolour is closely related to an earlier lithograph - after a drawing by Eugène Lami - by his friend Paul Delaroche, which bears the caption ‘L'Eclatant, Etalon du haras royal du Pin’ and was published in 18231. (Located in the département of the Orne in southern Normandy, the Haras National du Pin is the oldest of the French national stud farms.) As the Delaroche scholar Stephen Bann has noted of the print, ‘in 1823, Delaroche published a lithograph after a drawing by Eugène Lami at the press of Villain, also used by Carle Vernet. Titled L’Eclatant – A Stallion at the Royal Stud du Pin, it closely recalls similar works by Carle Vernet and Géricault, even to the virtuosity with which the gris pommelé (dappled grey) coat of the stallion is rendered. Lami was himself a practised lithographer by this stage, and Delaroche most certainly did not fill in for his technical deficiencies. On the contrary, it seems likely that Delaroche was being instructed by his friend in a technique with whose finer points he was unfamiliar. At any rate L’Eclatant appears to have been the last print that Delaroche published for profit.’ The present sheet can also be associated with an oil painting by Lami of the same horse, inscribed by the artist ‘L’Eclatant’, which was sold at auction in Paris in 2013. 

The horse depicted in this watercolour, as well as the related painting and lithograph, may perhaps be identified as ‘L’Eclatant I’, a horse belonging to the Emperor Napoleon. During his imperial reign of a decade, between 1804 and 1814, Napoleon had around a hundred horses for his personal use, some of which died under him in various battles. Described as a ‘Norman gelding, silvery wine-grey’, ‘L’Eclatant I’ was retired from service in 1814.

Among stylistically comparable drawings in watercolour and gouache by Lami are a similar study of a horse in a stable, signed and dated 1824, which was sold at auction in London in 1998, and another of a horse in a landscape that appeared at auction in Paris in 2003.

The first recorded owner of this watercolour, according to the inscription on the backing board, was Mme. Hippolyte Carnot (1816-1897), who lived at the Château de Savignat in Chabanais, in the département of Charente. However, she may perhaps have inherited the work from her father, François Dupont de Savignat (1769-1846), who served as inspecteur general des haras. The watercolour later passed to her son, the chemist and mining engineer Adolphe Carnot (1813-1920), and thence to his daughter, Marguerite Carnot, Mme. Henri Perret (1867-1957).

Date: 1839

Period: 19th century

Origin: Paris

Medium: Watercolour, over an underdrawing in black chalk.

Signature: Signed and dated EUGÈNE LAMI. / 1839. in red gouache at the lower left.
Inscribed Le cadre / seulement and Aquarelle de Lamy / (se trouvait au cheau de Savignat / chez Mme Hippolyte Carnot / rapportée en 1920 à la mort / de M. Adolphe Carnot son fils / chez Mme Henri Perret Carnot / à Beaune on the backing board.

Dimension: 38 x 45.6 cm (15 x 18 inches)

Provenance: Possibly François Dupont de Savignat, Chabanais
His daughter, Claire Jeanne Marie Dupont, Mme. Louis-Hippolyte Carnot, Château de Savignat, Chabanais
By descent to her son, Marie-Adolphe Carnot, Paris, until 1920
By descent to his daughter, Marie Marguerite Jeanne Carnot, Mme. Henri Perret, Beaune
Private collection
Anonymous sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 13 June 2014, lot 43.

Literature: Possibly Paul-André Lemoisne, L’oeuvre d’Eugène Lami (1800-1890), Paris, 1914, p.226, no.995 (‘Étude de cheval gris pommelé à l’écurie. Dess. aquarellé. – No 90 de la vente du 12 mars 1851.’).

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