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Gallery Text

Discouraged by what he believed to be the conservative tastes of the French art establishment, Géricault traveled to England and exhibited his work in London in 1820–21. Received with critical acclaim, he engaged with the local manner, which included an embrace of naturalistic compositions and a more muted palette. Here he depicts a weary uniformed postman receiving a drink from a waiter outside a roadside inn. He focuses attention on the horses, contrasting their detailed muscular frames with the summarily rendered figures and landscape. The inn’s sign, which translates as “White Horse” even though a black one is illustrated, locates the scene in France, possibly outside Paris, explicitly alluding to Géricault’s mingling of British painting conventions and a French context.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Théodore Géricault, French (Rouen 1791 - 1824 Paris)
The White Horse Tavern
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Postillion at the Door of an Inn / Dispatch Rider
Work Type
Persistent Link
Level 2, Room 2200, European and American Art, 17th–19th century, The Emergence of Romanticism in Early Nineteenth-Century France
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Physical Descriptions
Oil on canvas
sight: 54 x 44.5 cm (21 1/4 x 17 1/2 in.)
framed: 71 x 61.5 cm (27 15/16 x 24 3/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: verso, upper left of canvas: [illegible mark or text encircled]
  • inscription: verso, upper left of stretcher, graphite: 10
  • inscription: verso, upper left of stretcher, white chalk: 7 [encircled]
  • inscription: verso, upper left of frame, impressed: M. GRIEVE CO. / HAND CARVED / NEW YORK & LONDON
  • inscription: verso, upper center of stretcher, white chalk: 10-B-805
  • inscription: verso, upper center of frame, white cahlk: A16
  • inscription: verso, lower center stretcher, graphite: MOH [?]
  • label: verso, upper center stretcher, black crayon: [illegible] 256
Duchesne, sold [through his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 1846]. Achille Boucher, Paris, sold [through his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, April 19-20, 1850, no. 23]; to Bouchet, Paris. Mme. X, sold [through anonymous sale, Galerie Georges Petit, 1926, no. 103]; to [Paul Rosenberg, Paris, 1926]. Baron Joseph Vitta, sold [through Martin Birnbaum]; to Grenville Lindall Winthrop, New York, NY, 1930, bequest; to Fogg Art Museum, 1943.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Publication History

Hans Tietze, ed., Masterpieces of European Painting in America (London, England, 1939), p. 327, repr. p. 264

Chinese Sculpture, Bronzes, Jades, Paintings and Drawings, Egyptian and Persian sculpture, Pre-Columbian art; selected from the collection of Grenville Lindall Winthrop, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1943), p. 7

"Paintings from the Winthrop Collection", Bulletin of the Fogg Art Museum, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, March 1945), vol. X, no. 3, pp. 98-103, repr. p. 100

[Unidentified article], The Chronicle: A Sporting Journal, Middleburgh VA (May 4, 1956), repr. on cover in b/w and noted p. 35

Maurice Gobin, Géricault, 1791-1824, dans la collection d'un amateur, Editions des Quatre chemins-Editart (Paris, France, 1959), no. 37

Dorothy W. Gillerman, ed., Grenville L. Winthrop: Retrospective for a Collector, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, 1969), no. 87, p. 120; repr. p. 121 in b/w

Philippe Grunchec, All the Paintings of Théodore Géricault, Rizzoli (New York, NY, 1976)

Henri Zerner, "Théodore Géricault: Artist of Man and Beast", Apollo (June 1978), vol. CVII, no. 196, pp. 480-486, p. 483, repr. as color plate XVII

Philippe Grunchec and Jacques Thuillier, L'Opera Completa di Gericault, Rizzoli Editore (Milan, Italy, 1978), no. 216, p. 121, repr.

Lorenz Eitner, Géricault: His Life and Work, Orbis Publishing Ltd. (London, England, 1983), pp. 252-253, 278; repr. p. 319 as pl. 42; no. 72, p. 356

Kristin A. Mortimer and William G. Klingelhofer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums and Abbeville Press (Cambridge and New York, 1986), no. 204, p. 179, repr. in color

Germain Bazin, Théodore Géricault: Etude critique, documents, et catalogue raisonné, Wildenstein Institute (Paris, France, 1987 -1997), vol. 2, pp. 233, 237, fig. 191; vol. 7, no. 2552, repr.; pp. 47, 224-225

Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 69, color plate; pp. 108, 225, repr. b/w cat. no. 273

Lorenz Eitner, Gericault, Sa vie, son oeuvre, Gallimard (Paris, France, 1991), repr. in b/w fig. 159, p. 353

Régis Michel, Gericault l'invention du reel, Decouvertes Gallimard/Reunion des Musées Nationaux (Paris, France, 1992), repr. in b/w p. 144

Alfredo de Paz, Géricault, la febbre dell'arte e della vita, Liguori Editore (Naples, Italy, 1997), pp. 194, 397, repr. as fig. 175

Stephan Wolohojian, ed., A Private Passion: 19th-Century Paintings and Drawings from the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection, Harvard University, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Yale University Press (U.S.) (New York, 2003), no. 44, pp. 138-140, repr. in color

Christopher Riopelle, Harvard's Winthrop Collection: Nineteenth-Century Paintings and Drawings from the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection, exh. cat., National Gallery Company Limited (London, 2003), p. 35, cat. 22, ill.

Stephan Wolohojian, Ingres, Burne-Jones, Whistler, Renoir... La Collection Grenville L. Winthrop, exh. cat., Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon and Réunion des Musées Nationaux (Paris, France, 2003), no. 44, pp. 144-146, repr. in color

Susan Siegfried, Alternative Narratives, Art History (February 2013), volume 36, issue 1, pp. 100-127, pp. 112-113, repr. fig. 8

"Géricault's Staying Power", Index Magazine ([e-journal], August 13, 2018),, accessed August 15, 2018

Exhibition History

Chinese sculpture, bronzes, jades, paintings and drawings, Egyptian and Persian sculpture, Pre-Columbian art : selected from the collection of Grenville Lindall Winthrop, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 10/01/1943 - 02/28/1944

Between the Empires: Géricault, Delacroix, Chasseriau--Painters of the Romantic Movement, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/30/1946 - 06/01/1946

Grenville L. Winthrop: Retrospective for a Collector, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 01/23/1969 - 03/31/1969

Master Paintings from the Fogg Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/13/1977 - 08/31/1977

Apollo's Laurels, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 05/31/1978 - 10/04/1978

Masterpieces of European Art, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 06/22/1985 - 09/15/1985

A Private Passion: 19th-Century Paintings and Drawings from the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection, Harvard University, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, Lyon, 03/15/2003 - 05/26/2003; National Gallery, London, 06/25/2003 - 09/14/2003; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 10/23/2003 - 01/25/2004

For Students of Art and Lovers of Beauty: Highlights from the Collection of Grenville L. Winthrop, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/16/2004

32Q: 2200 19th Century, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 07/12/2018; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 03/19/2019 - 01/01/2050

Mutiny: Works by Géricault, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/01/2018 - 01/06/2019

Subjects and Contexts

Google Art Project

Related Works

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