A Perch of Birds

Hector Giacomellica. 1880

The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum

Twenty-four finches, varying in pose and color, are perched in a row. This watercolor is a variant of one of the artist's most popular subjects, "Un bâton de cage." Another variation of this composition in the Lucas Collection of The Baltimore Museum of Art is inscribed: "Giacomelli a Mr. Lucas affecteux souvenir d'une aquarelle." Henri Beraldi wrote of this artist, "Giacomelli is the Van Huysum [Jan Van Huysum, 1682-1749, Dutch flower-painter] of tiny birds, tender and ravishing, which give the impression of being pensive. The bird is to Giacomelli what the cat is to Lambert [Louis-Eugène Lambert, 1825-1900, French painter who specialized in cat subjects]. A respectable bird must be a Giacomelli bird; A non-Giacomelli bird is a false bird," (H. Beraldi, "Les Graveurs du XIXE siècle," Paris, 1885-92, 7:105).

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  • Title: A Perch of Birds
  • Creator: Hector Giacomelli (French, 1822-1904)
  • Date Created: ca. 1880
  • Subject Keywords: animal
  • External Link: For more information about this and thousands of other works of art in the Walters Art Museum collection, please visit art.thewalters.org
  • Roles: Artist: Hector Giacomelli (French, 1822-1904)
  • Provenance: Purchased by William T. Walters (through George A. Lucas as agent), Baltimore, March 21, 1884 [1]; inherited by Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894; by bequest to Walters Art Museum, 1931. [1] The Diary of George A. Lucas, p. 583.
  • Object Type: watercolors
  • Medium: watercolor over graphite underdrawing heightened with white and gum on cream, thick, heavily textured wove paper
  • Inscriptions: "H. Giacomelli" in graphite reinforced with watercolor in lower left edge, partially cropped
  • Exhibitions: French Master Drawings. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1997-1998., A Discerning Eye: Nineteenth-century Drawings and Watercolors. Academy Art Museum, Easton. 1998-1999., The Essence of Line: French Drawings from Ingres to Degas. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham; Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma. 2005-2006., Botanical Delights: Floral Motifs in 19th-Century Art. Government House, Annapolis; Strathmore Hall Art Center, North Bethesda; Academy Art Museum, Easton. 1998-1999., A Supple Brush: The Flowering of Continental Watercolors. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1979., A Connoisseur's Portfolio: Nineteenth-century Drawings and Watercolors in the Walters Art Gallery. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1983., Public Property. 2012.
  • Dimensions: H: 7 x W: 19 1/16 in. (17.8 x 48.4 cm)
  • Credit Line: Acquired by William T. Walters, 1884
  • Classification: Painting & Drawing
  • Accession Number: 37.963


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