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A Rediscovered Work by French Artist Delacroix Finds A Home at MFAH

A Rediscovered Work by French Artist Delacroix Finds A Home at MFAH

It’s not often a new masterpiece comes to the surface, and when it does we write about it. After nearly 170 years a new painting by French artist Eugène Delacroix has been acquired by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH). It is the first version of the famous painting “Femmes d’Alger,” 1834 that hangs in the Louvre.

The dimly lit painting, “Women of Algiers in Their Apartment,” 1833-34 portrays a scene Delacroix painted in the home of an Algerian official in the 19th Century. It depicts two women and their maidservants in an intimate setting inside the home.

The MFAH notes:

“Despite having spent only four days in Algiers, during his brief stay there Delacroix created a number of sketches and watercolors, noting details of the interiors, the names of the people he painted, and descriptions of clothing. He completed the Houston painting, then the version at the Louvre, on his return to Paris. Delacroix’s third Femmes d’Alger, a much later version from 1847–49, is in the collection of the Musée Fabre in Montpellier, France. Both the Louvre and Montpellier paintings were famously admired by Van Gogh and Gauguin, and by Picasso, who produced his extensive 1954–55 series of paintings, drawings, and prints of the same title in homage.

Eugène Delacroix, Women of Algiers in Their Apartment, 1833–34, oil on canvas, 18 1/8 × 14 7/8 in., the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by the Brown Foundation Accessions Endowment Fund.

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