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Detailed painting in oil depicts a bloody battle scene with several figures on horseback and slain people and horses

The scene fills the frame, patches of red visible on the ground and blue clouded sky above. A hooded figure in white on a white horse wields a sword in his right hand above his head and looks down facing a man holding a sword, his back to the viewer as he looks up. To each side, a dark skinned hooded figure in red raises a weapon. The man at left holds a blood-covered sword above a wounded light skinned man on a slain horse. Two slain figures in the foreground are surrounded by figures on horseback engaged in battle.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Théodore Chassériau, French (Ste. Barbe de Samana, S. America 1819 - 1856 Paris)
Battle of Arab Horsemen
Other Titles
Original Language Title: Combat Arabe / Combat de Cavaliers Arabes
Former Title: Arab Combat
Work Type
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Oil on panel
sight: 31.8 × 45.7 cm (12 1/2 × 18 in.)
framed: 47.6 × 62.2 × 6.4 cm (18 3/4 × 24 1/2 × 2 1/2 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: l.l.: Thre. ChasSériau 1855


Recorded Ownership History
Robert Journet, Paris (by 1932). [Jacques Seligmann & Co., New York, NY (by 1934-1935), sold, October 23, 1935]; to Grenville L. Winthrop (1935-1942), gift; to Fogg Art Museum, 1942.

1. The painting is listed as number 5869 in the following Jacques Seligmann & Co. stock catalogues (Jacques Seligmann & Co. archives, Archives of American Art online): 1934-1935, 1935-1936. The drawing may have been at Seligmann’s before 1934; it was sold in 1935 which may explain why its entry is crossed out in the 1935-1936 stock catalogue.
2. The painting briefly belonged to Henry McIlhenny of Cambridge, MA who purchased it from Jacques Seligmann & Co. in April 1934. Correspondence from April 1934 to January 1935, mainly between Robert M. Levy of Jacques Seligmann & Co. and Henry McIlhenny (Seligmann archives, Archives of American Art) indicates that McIlhenny changed his mind about the painting and no longer wanted it for his collection. After much discussion, McIlhenny agreed to pay for the painting on January 14, 1935 with the understanding that he would not take possession of it but would rather exchange it for another art object more agreeable to him once one became available.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Grenville L. Winthrop, Class of 1886
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art


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Publication History

  • Valbert Chevillard, Un Peintre Romantique: Theodore Chasseriau (Paris, France, 1893), cat. no. 162
  • Léonce Bénédite, Théodore Chassériau, sa vie et son oeuvre, Braun et Cie (Paris, France, 1931), repr. vol. II, p. 488
  • 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. 10
  • Otto Benesch, "The Winthrop Collection: From Neo-Classic to Romanticism; David, Ingres, Géricault", Art News (January 1-14, 1944), vol. 42, no. 16, pp. 9-10, 20-21, 32, repr. p. 21
  • Germain Seligman, Merchants of Art, exh. cat., Appleton-Century-Crofts (New York, NY, 1961), p. 149 and repr. pl. 46b
  • Marc Sandoz, Théodore Chassériau, 1819-1856: catalogue raisonné des peintures et estampes, Arts et Metiers Graphiques (Paris, France, 1974), no. 143, p. 284, repr. as pl. 133
  • Francis Haskell, "A Turk and His Pictures in Nineteenth-Century Paris", The Oxford Art Journal (1982), vol. V, no. 1, ill. p. 44
  • Francis Haskell, Past and Present in Art and Taste, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT and London, England, 1987), repr. in b/w p. 180
  • Louis-Antoine Prat, Dessins de Théodore Chassériau : 1819-1856, Editions de la Réunion des Musées Nationaux (Paris, France, 1988), p. 257, under no. 547; p. 697, under no. 2004
  • 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. 72, color plate; pp. 102, 229, repr. b/w cat. no. 290
  • Chikashi Kitazaki and Mina Oya, ed., Between Reality and Dreams: Nineteenth Century British and French Art from the Winthrop Collection of the Fogg Art Museum, exh. cat., National Museum of Western Art (Ueno, 2002), pp. 98-99, cat. #16, color repr.
  • 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. 8, pp. 60-61, 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. 33, cat. 20, 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. 8, pp. 68-70, repr. in color

Exhibition History

  • Exposition du Centenaire de la Conquête de l'Algerie, 1830-1930, Petit Palais, Paris, Paris, 05/01/1930 - 06/30/1930
  • Expostion Chassériau, 1819-1856, Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris, 01/01/1933 - 12/31/1933
  • French Art of the Nineteenth Century, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 07/01/1942 - 08/31/1942
  • French Romanticism of the Eighteen Thirties, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 01/16/1943 - 02/12/1943
  • 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
  • Master Paintings from the Fogg Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/13/1977 - 08/31/1977
  • Between Reality and Dreams: Nineteenth Century British and French Art from the Winthrop Collection of the Fogg Art Museum, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 09/14/2002 - 12/08/2002
  • 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

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