Head of an Old Man

Object Details


Head of an Old Man


Jean-Baptiste Greuze (French, 1725 - 1805)






Red chalk


39.7 × 32.1 cm (15 5/8 × 12 5/8 in.)

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In Jean-Baptiste Greuze's moralizing narrative paintings, facial expression and gesture were key to telling the story, and his contemporaries greatly admired his skills. In drawn studies such as this one, he departed from the high drama of his paintings and captured his sitter's individual character with sympathy and humility. A consummate draftsman, Greuze made many vivid, expressive, large-scale head studies in chalk, which he did not necessarily intend for specific paintings; sometimes they were later engraved and distributed as prints.

This drawing may be a study for the old man seated at the right of the painting L'Aveugle trompéin Moscow's Pushkin Museum.


von Amerling Collection (Vienna)

May 3-6, 1916

Dorotheum (Vienna), [lot 96]


Sir Alexander Morley (London)


Private Collection (Landesberger ?)


Art Market (London)

18th and 19th Century Drawings (March 15 to May 29, 1994)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), March 15 to May 29, 1994
Red Chalk Drawings (March 16 to May 30, 1999)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 16 to May 30, 1999
Greuze the Draftsman (May 14 to December 1, 2002) (51; Catalogue by E. Munhall)
  • The Frick Collection (New York), May 14 to August 4, 2002
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), September 10 to December 1, 2002
Rococo to Revolution: Eighteenth-Century French Drawings from Los Angeles Collections (July 1 to September 21, 2014)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), July 1 to September 21, 2014