Getty Adds a Victor Hugo Mindscape

Victor Hugo, Landscape at the Castle, 1857. J. Paul Getty Museum
La Tribune de l'
Art reports that the Getty Museum has bought a drawing by Victor Hugo, author of Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Though a prolific draftsman, Hugo didn't exhibit his drawings. Often based on chance effects of ink, Hugo's murky, moody near-abstractions would have puzzled 19th-century audiences. The drawings were nonetheless admired by Delacroix, van Gogh, and Picasso. In this century scholars and exhibitions—including a 2018 show at the Hammer—have positioned Hugo as a precursor to today's experimental drawing practices. 

The Getty sheet, Landscape at the Castle, was sold by Ambrose Duchemin gallery, Paris. Executed in ink wash, charcoal, and white gouache, it's 6.7 by 11 inches. Like many of Hugo's drawings, it was made on the Isle of Guernsey during Hugo's self-imposed exile from Napoleon III's France.

The Hammer Museum owns a heliograph print by Hugo. As far as I can tell, Landscape at the Castle becomes the only Hugo drawing in an L.A. collection. At the Getty, it joins a watercolor by the Hugo's literary contemporary, George Sand.


mughound said…
Just saw that The Penitent Magdalene by Gentileschi is going up for auction at Sotheby's in January. It seems he painted multiples, but Is this the missing link in question that the Getty would need to finish its set with "Danae and the Shower of Gold" and "Lot and his Daughters?" If so, we can look forward to a surefire bid from the Getty. The painting is "only" estimated at $4-6M which is pocket change to the institution.
mughound said…
Here is the painting in question:
All of these were intended for the Met.
Divorce...the worst.
Let Getty have the Gentileschi.
All I wish for for Xmas is the Rubens for the Met. But the price will be dear.
Anonymous said…
> The painting is "only" estimated at $4-6M which is
> pocket change to the institution.

I recall when artworks selling for around a few million was considered a hefty sum. And that was just about always exclusive to older works of art too.

As for contemporary art in the past? That sold for amounts that might be considered items at one of today's Walmarts.

Hell, I recall when residences selling for over $500,000 to $1 million would have been considered in the Beverly-Hills price range. Today that price is found in neighborhoods not far from where the Lucas Museum is located.