Delacroix’s Hamlet

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Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863), Hamlet, 1834-43, 1864. 16 lithographs. Printed by Bertauts, published by Dusacq & Cie. Graphic Arts Collection. Gift of Sinclair Hamilton.

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In 1949, Sinclair Hamilton, Class of 1906, donated an unbound set of Eugène Delacroix’s Hamlet to the Graphic Arts Collection. The 16 lithographs were drawn by the artist between 1834 and 1843, and printed by Betauts at his shop at 11, rue Cadet in Paris. They represent state iia/iv, in which the impressions were printed aver cache (with text masked) but with Betauts’s blindstamp. Unfortunately, the rare title page to the set is not included.hamlet delacroix 5


Eugène Delacroix, Hamlet and His Mother, 1849. Oil on canvas. © Metropolitan Museum of Art. Bequest of Miss Adelaide Milton de Groot (1876–1967).

It was the artist’s second attempt at a lithographic portfolio on a literary theme, the first being Goethe’s Faust in 1828.

According to Alan Young, “Delacroix published at his own expense in 1844 a small edition (eighty copies) of thirteen Hamlet lithographs . . . variously dated 1834, 1835, and 1843.”

After the death of Delacroix in 1863, Paul Meurice acquired the stones for these, together with three stones not used for the 1844 edition. Meurice then published all sixteen lithographs in an edition of two hundred copies.”

“Between the 1930s and his death, Delacroix also painted versions in oil of a number of the lithographs [including Hamlet and His Mother, now at the Metropolitan Museum]….”–Alan R. Young, Hamlet and the Visual Arts, 1709-1900 (University of Delaware Press, 2002): 109.hamlet delacroix 4

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For details, see: Loys Delteil and Susan Strauber. Delacroix, The Graphic Work: A Catalogue Raisonné, San Francisco, 1997. Marquand Art Library

Graphic Arts Collection plates include:
La reine s’efforce de consoler Hamlet (the Queen tries to console Hamlet), 1834. D103 iia/iv
Hamlet veut suivre l’ombre de son père (Hamlet Tries to Follow His Father’s Ghost), 1835. D104 iia/iv
Le fantôme sur la terrasse (The Ghost on the Terrace), 1843. D105 ia/iii
Polonius et Hamlet (Polonius and Hamlet), [no date]. D106 iia/iv
Hamlet et Ophélie (Hamlet and Ophelia), [no date]. D107 iia/iv
Hamlet et Guildenstern (Hamlet and Guildenstern), [no date]. D108 iia/iv
Hamlet fait jouer aux comédiens la scène de l’empoisonnement de son père (Hamlet Has the Actors Play the Scene of His Father’s poisoning), 1835. D109 iia/iv
Hamlet tente de tuer le roe (Hamlet Attempts to Kill the King), 1843. D110 iia/iii
Le meurtre de polonius (The Murder of Polonius), [no date]. D111 iia/iii
Hamlet et la reine (Hamlet and the Queen), 1834. D112 iiia/v
Hamlet et le cadaver de Polonius (Hamlet and the Corpse of Polonius), 1835. D113 iia/iv
Le chant d’Ophélie (Ophelia’s Song), 1834. D144 iia/v
Mort d’Ophélie (Death of Ophelia), 1843. D115 iia/iv
Hamlet et Horatio devant les fossoyeurs (Hamlet and Horatio with the grave Diggers), 1843. D116 iia/iv
Hamlet et Laertes dans la fosse d’Ophélie (Hamlet and Laertes in Ophelia’s Grave), 1843. D117 iia/iv
Mort d’Hamlet (Hamlet’s Death), 1843. D118 iia/iv
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