- Gallery Text
This portrait depicts the son of Colonel Louis Bro, a cavalry officer knighted by Napoleon. Géricault painted the colonel’s five-year-old son Olivier in the visual language of service to the empire, his somber expression suggesting adult concerns rather than playfulness. Olivier’s costume recalls portraits of soldiers from the Napoleonic Wars, and the boy’s dog stands in for a cavalry horse. The sword belonged to Colonel Bro, who purportedly brandished it at the Battle of Waterloo. At this point, however, the empire was over, Napoleon was in exile, and Bonapartists such as Bro had been beaten down and were out of power. They were also often spied on by the royalist government and unable to work. Here, Géricault uses a child to represent the seriousness and danger of war, and its larger effect on French society. He gave the painting to Olivier’s family as a token of friendship.
- Identification and Creation
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
- 62 × 51 cm (24 7/16 × 20 1/16 in.)
framed: 81.3 × 71.1 cm (32 × 28 in.)
- Inscriptions and Marks
- label: verso, upper left of frame: [printed:] WADSWORTH ATHENUM / HARTFORD, CONN. / No. [typewritten:] T.L.389 / [printed:] Artist [typewritten:] Gericault / [printed:] Title [typewritten:] Boy on a Dog / [printed:] Owner [typewritten:] Mr. and Mrs. A. K. Solomon / 27 Cragie St., / Cambridge, Mass. / [printed:] Return to [typewritten:] Above
- label: verso, top of frame, blue border: [red ink:] EXI [?, obscured by tear] / 22 [graphite:] 59 [obscured by tear]
- inscription: verso, left side of frame, black marker: 52
- inscription: verso, left side of frame, blue crayon: 800 - 4155 z[?]
- inscription: verso, top of frame, white chalk: [illegible]
- General Louis Bro (1781-1844), by descent; to his son, Olivier Bro de Comères (1813-1874), until at least 1924.  Édouard Napoléon César Edmond Mortier, Duc de Trévise (1883-1946), Paris, until at least 1939.  [Schaeffer Galleries, New York].[Julius Weitzner, New York and London, and R. L.];  sold; to Arthur K. Solomon, Cambridge, 1952; The Arthur K. and Mariot F. Solomon Trust, bequest; to Harvard Art Museums, 2021
 Baron Bro de Comères is listed as the owner in the 1924 exhibition catalogue
 Duc de Trévise is listed as the lender to the 1939 "French Romantic Artists" exhibition
 According to the Weitzner stockbooks, a half share of this work was owned with "R. L."
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Arthur K. and Mariot F. Solomon Collection
- Accession Year
- Object Number
- European and American Art
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- Publication History
Exposition Géricault, exh. cat., Hôtel Jean Charpentier (Paris, 1924), cat. no. 251
Exposition Géricault, exh. cat., Galerie Bernheim Jeune (Paris, France, 1937), cat. no. 45
Gros, Géricault, Delacroix: Loan Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings, exh. cat., M. Knoedler & Co. (New York, 1938), p. 27, cat. no. 23, as "A Child with a Dog, Portrait of Colonel Bro de Comères as a child"
Untitled, Parnassus (November 1938), Vol. 10, No. 6, p. 4, p. 4, repr.
French Romantic Artists: An Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings and Watercolors by Gros, Géricault, Delacroix, exh. cat., San Francisco Museum of Art (San Francisco, 1939), p. 15, cat. no. 17 as "A Child with a Dog"
Charles C. Cunningham, Sr., The Romantic Circle: French Romantic Painting, Delacroix and his Contemporaries, exh. cat., Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art (Hartford, CT, 1952), cat. no. 17
Lorenz Eitner, Géricault: His Life and Work, Orbis Publishing Ltd. (London, England, 1983), pp. 202, 204-205, 347, no. 209, repr. p. 202
Germain Bazin, Théodore Géricault: Etude critique, documents, et catalogue raisonné, Wildenstein Institute (Paris, France, 1987 -1997), vol. 5, pp. 84, 243-244, no. 1735, repr. p. 243
Henri Zerner, "Le portrait, plus ou moins", Géricault: Ouvrage collectif dirigé par Régis Michel, La documentation française, Musée du Louvre (1996), Tome I, pp. 321-336, pp. 328-330
- Exhibition History
Exposition Géricault, Jean Charpentier, 04/24/1924 - 05/16/1924
Gros, Géricault, Delacroix: Loan Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings, M. Knoedler & Co., 11/21/1938 - 12/10/1938
French Romantic Artists: An Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings and Watercolors by Gros, Géricault, Delacroix, San Francisco Museum of Art, 04/19/1939 - 05/14/1939
The Romantic Circle: French Romantic Painting, Delacroix and his Contemporaries, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, 10/15/1952 - 11/30/1952
32Q: 2200 19th Century, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 11/10/2015; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 04/25/2022 - 01/01/2050
- Related Works
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