CF STUDIES JOURNAL 06 - Page 184



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An exotic visitor to Paris: context and possible identities for Claude-Marie Dubufe’s portrait
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17.
Christie’s, London, 22-23 March 2017, lot 693.
Sotheby’s, New York, 26 January 2017, lot 270.
I am grateful to Côme Fabre for alerting me to the
existence of this lithograph.
Several publications have focused on Zarafa,
her story and her impact in recent years. See for
example: Michael Allin, Zarafa: A Giraffe’s True Story,
from Deep in Africa to the Heart of Paris (New York:
Random House, 2006); Olivier Lagueux, “Geoffrey’s
Giraffe: The Hagiography of a Charismatic
Animal,” Journal of the History of Biolog y 26 (2003): pp.
225-247; Olivier Lebleu, Les Avatars de Zarafa: Première
girafe de France: Chronique d’un girafomania: 1826-1845
(Paris: Arléa, 2006); Gabriel Dardaud, Une girafe
pour le roi, ou l’histoire de la première giraffe de France, ed.
Olivier Lebleu (Bordeaux: Elytis, 2007); Michele
Majer, “La Mode a la Girafe: Fashion, Culture, and
Politics in Bourbon Restoration France,” Studies
in the Decorative Arts 17 (2009-2010): pp. 123-161;
Daniel Harkett, “The Giraffe’s Keepers and the
(Dis)Play of Indifference,” in Of Elephants & Roses:
French Natural History, 1790-1830, ed. Sue Ann Prince
(Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society,
2013), pp. 149-158.
Allin, Les Avatars de Zarafa, pp. 57, 65-66.
In this vein, Mehmet Ali Pasha sent two further
giraffes to Europe: one to London, for George IV,
and one to Vienna, for Francis I of Austria. The
former was painted with two attendants by JacquesLaurent Agasse (Royal Collection).
Dardaud, Une girafe pour le roi, p. 86.
Olivier Lebleu gives the most complete account of
the journey, using letters, journals and newspapers
(Lebleu, Les Avatars de Zarafa).
See for example, La Gazette Universelle de Lyon, 6 June
1827, cited in Lebleu, Les Avatars de Zarafa, p. 108.
Moniteur Universel, 4 July 1827, cited in Lebleu, Les
Avatars de Zarafa, p. 132: “Un nègre de Darfour, nommé
Atir, et un Maure du Sennaar, nommé Hassan, coiffés de
turban”.
Lebleu, Les Avatars de Zarafa, p. 64.
Letter dated 4 May 1827, cited in Lebleu, Les Avatars
de Zarafa, p. 99.
This lithograph is based on Girodet’s portrait in a
private collection. Sylvain Bellenger is cautious in
calling the sitter Notis Botsaris, writing that Notis
Botsaris never visited Paris and could not therefore
have conceivably sat for Girodet: see Sylvain
Bellenger, Girodet (Paris: Gallimard, 2005), p. 389.
I am grateful to Côme Fabre for alerting me to the
existence of these four drawings, as well as the one
by Riesener.
This point has already been made by Côme Fabre.
See Côme Fabre, “Un Égyptien à Paris,” Grande
Galerie. Le Journal du Louvre 42 (2017-2018): p. 20.
Audap & Mirabaud, Paris, 20 June 2017, 55 x 43
cm, lot 55, and Hôtel des Ventes de Monte Carlo,
Monaco, lot 82, 53 x 26 cm.
Mercier & Cie, 15 April 2018, 56 x 46 cm, lot 376.
18. Dimensions and further provenance are unknown
for the last three. I am grateful to Côme Fabre
for mentioning to me the painting in the Parisian
private collection.
An exotic visitor to Paris: context and possible identities for Claude-Marie Dubufe’s portrait
183

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