Strokes of genius: a drawing by Victor Hugo at auction

In the continuity of the Parisian events dedicated to drawing, Aguttes study will propose to auction on March 27, a graphic work done by Victor Hugo (1802-1885).

Victor Hugo, a talented draughtsman

Better known as a man of letters, poet, novelist and playwright, Victor Hugo is also a talented draughtsman. There are no less than four thousand comic works from his pen, including drawings, sketches and sketches, done in pen, pen or ink.

The works designed by the artist come in addition to his written works, as a continuity between two versions of its creation. “This magnificent imagination flowing in the drawings of Victor Hugo as the mystery in the sky. I’m talking about his drawings in India ink, because it is too obvious that our poet in poetry is the King of landscapers’ tell him Charles Baudelaire.

An exile political pen and ink for Victor Hugo

The date of creation of the ink for sale by Aguttes auction house evokes the Hugo’s political exile following the coup d ‘ état perpetrated by Napoleon III and the restoration of the Empire.  “Hermitage (Jersey)” is drawn in 1855, date in which the writer stay in the Channel Islands.

This period is an abundant graphic production, hugoliens designs taking the appearance resolutely fantastic and mystical, inspired by the silhouette of the sides and architecture observed on the archipelago” is it specified in the sale catalogue.

From 1852 to 1855, Victor Hugo resides on the island of Jersey, where he chose to immortalize, sleeping it on paper, the chapel of a castle in ruins lording it over the Hermitage rock whose composition takes the name. It is part of the aesthetic and the lineage of the eminently romantic landscapes that the writer has was steeped in the Rhine Valley a few years before, as well as blacks from Goya whose imagination feeds the production of Victor Hugo. Values, more or less dark beaches structure the sheet to make a work very expressive and tormented.    It is said that Hugo was trying regularly to draw with his left hand or without looking at the sheet in an attempt to let his unconscious dictate the outline of his work.

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A the artist dedication brings unpublished biographical elements

Ink presented to her auction carries a dedication to Hugo addressed to Dr. Terrier, to whom he offers the drawing in 1857 in order to thank him for the care he administers to his daughter Adele, victim of depression, then convalescing. These few lines add an intimate and biographical to this work of quality.

Kept in the family since then, this graphic work was presented in 1971 at the exhibition “Drawings of Victor Hugo” to the Victor Hugo Museum and then to the House of the artist. The drawing was also in the exhibition “this huge dream of the ocean” which was held in the House of Victor Hugo in 2006.

© Aguttes


The Hermitage (Jersey) 1855

Pen and brown ink wash, signed and dated lower right

19 x 22 cm

Rating: 80 000 / €120 000


Monday, March 27, 2017 14:30

Drouot – Room 5