Moroccan Horseman Crossing a Ford

Object Details


Moroccan Horseman Crossing a Ford


Eugène Delacroix (French, 1798 - 1863)




France (Place created)


about 1850


Oil on canvas


46 x 38.1 cm (18 1/8 x 15 in.)

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Dramatically lit and heroically isolated, a Moroccan horseman, fist upraised, charges across a ford, his horse rearing as it gains the riverbank. Behind them stretches an expansive plain where another lone horseman gallops towards a military encampment. The two rearing horses echo each other, just as the foremost horse's tail repeats the form of the weeds on the riverbank.
In the background, under a turbulent sky, lies a chain of dark mountains.

Delacroix drew inspiration for this painting from his 1832 trip to Morocco, during which he feverishly took notes and made countless sketches and watercolors. The horsemen he encountered in Morocco were among his favorite subjects. As his writings attest, Delacroix saw in them a living incarnation of the noble of spirit and terrible strength of will that he associated with the heroes of antiquity. He designed this small-scale painting for private contemplation, signaling a general retreat into a more subjective realm of exoticism and fantasy.

1851 - 1859

Adolphe Moreau père, died 1859 (Paris, France), given to Joseph D., 1859.

1859 -

Joseph D.

- 2001

Private Collection Paris, France [sold, Drouot Richelieu, Paris, June 18, 2001, lot 143, to the J. Paul Getty Museum]


Silvestre, Théophile. Histoire des artistes vivants français et étrangers: Études d'après nature [...] Illustré de 11 portraits pris au daguerréotype et gravés sur acier. Introduction et catalogues par M. L. de Virmond (Paris: E. Blanchard, 1857), p. 81.

Moreau, Adolphe. E. Delacroix et son oeuvre, avec des gravures en fac-simile des planches originales les plus rares (Paris: Librairie des bibliophiles, 1873), p. 122, no. 40.

Robaut, Alfred. L'oeuvre complet de Eugène Delacroix: Peintures, dessins, gravures, lithographies (Paris: Charavay Frères, 1885), p. 317, no. 1186.

Delacroix, Eugène. Journal de Eugène Delacroix. 3 vols. André Joubin, ed. (1932; repr., Paris: Librairie Plon, 1950), vol. 1, p. 373.

Johnson, Lee. The Paintings of Eugène Delacroix: A Critical Catalogue. 6 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1981-89), vol. 3 (1986), p. 195, under no. 387; p. 282, no. L167; vol. 4 (1986), pl. 309; vol. 6 (1989), p. 205, under no. 387.

Pomarède, Vincent. "Trois generations de Moreau autour de Delacroix." In De Corot aux Impressionnistes, donations Moreau-Nélaton, exh. cat. (Paris: Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, 1991), p. 46.

Drouot Richelieu, Paris. Orientalisme. June 18, 2001, pp. 75-79, lot 143, ill.

Drouot Richelieu, Paris. Orientalisme. December 17, 2001, p. 76, fig. 1.

Font-Réaulx, Dominique de. "Adolphe Moreau père, un collectionneur philanthrope." In Delacroix en héritage: Autour de la collection Moreau-Nélaton, exh. cat. (Paris: Musée national Eugène Delacroix, with Musée du Louvre and Le Passage, 2013), p. 24.