Art/ Collection/ Art Object

The Natchez

Eugène Delacroix (French, Charenton-Saint-Maurice 1798–1863 Paris)
1823–24 and 1835
Oil on canvas
35 1/2 x 46 in. (90.2 x 116.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Gifts of George N. and Helen M. Richard and Mr. and Mrs. Charles S. McVeigh and Bequest of Emma A. Sheafer, by exchange, 1989
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 801
In 1823, Delacroix began to paint this scene from Chateaubriand’s widely read Romantic novel Atala, which narrates the fate of the Natchez tribe in the wake of the French and Indian War (1754–63). After putting the canvas aside for about a decade, he finally completed the picture for the Paris Salon of 1835. In the catalogue, Delacroix provided this explanatory note: "Fleeing the massacre of their tribe, two young savages traveled up the Mississippi River. During the voyage, the woman was taken by pain of labor. The moment is that when the father holds the newborn in his hands, and both regard him tenderly."
Delacroix first mentioned the prospect of painting this scene in his journal on October 5, 1822. He imagined the subject as follows: "A young Canadian traveling through the wilderness with her husband is taken by labor pains and lies down; the father takes the newborn in his arms." Its source is François-René de Chateaubriand’s widely read Romantic novella Atala, first published in 1801, and then included in Le Génie du Christianisme in 1802 and as part of Les Natchez in 1826. The story follows the lives of two native Americans, Chactas and Atala, as they travel through a wild, luxuriant landscape described in maximally lyrical terms. Its theme is the triumph of Christian values over "savage" mores. It was intended as a rebuttal to the notion of the noble savage popularized during the eighteenth century, which had since lost appeal to some, like Chateaubriand, who felt that it had contributed to the violent excesses of the French Revolution, which began in 1789. (He wrote Atala between 1793 and 1799, following a brief exile in America.) The culminating episode of the main narrative was famously depicted by Anne Louis Girodet-Trioson in The Burial of Atala (Musée du Louvre, Paris, 4958), exhibited at the Salon of 1808; Delacroix evidently sought to distinguish himself by painting a very different scene, one that challenges the faculties of the viewer for reasons that will become clear.

On December 22 or 23, 1823, just over one year after outlining the subject of The Natchez, Delacroix wrote that work on his "savages" was underway. There are two known preparatory studies, a loosely brushed pencil and watercolor compositional drawing and a chalk drawing for the father (both Louvre, Paris; RF 9210 and RF 23355 fol. 9 verso, respectively). Not long after he began working on the canvas, however, when it was "more than half sketched in," Delacroix set it aside and did not resume working on it for about a decade; this was owing to the priority of completing The Massacres at Chios (Musé du Louvre, Paris, 3823) for the Salon of 1824 (Moreau 1873, p. 160). It has not escaped notice that the figure of the father in The Natchez relates to that of the mother who kneels beside her slain child in an early compositional study for Chios (Louvre, Paris, RF 3717, recto). In any event, perhaps the novelty of the scene from Atala that Delacroix had chosen to depict wore off when he saw that Henri Decaisne (1799–1852), an artist he held in low esteem, exhibited a picture inspired by the same subject at the Salon (untraced; see Michèle Hannoosh, ed., Journal, Paris, 2009, vol. 1, p. 124 n. 69).
Delacroix was in the midst of working on a vast program of decorations for the Salon du Roi in the Palais Bourbon, Paris (1833–37), when he completed The Natchez in time for the Salon of 1835. The smooth, taut figures and their classical arrangement, though they were conceived far earlier, are consistent with the Palais Bourbon decorations. The artist provided an explanatory note for the Salon catalogue that closely echoes his initial projection of the scene: "Fleeing the massacre of their tribe, two young savages traveled up the Méschacébé [Mississippi River]. During the voyage, the young woman was seized by labor pains. The moment is that when the father holds the newborn in his hands, and both regard him tenderly." Delacroix’s stated subject is an episode related in the book’s epilogue (that is, after the scene depicted by Girodet); soon afterward the woman will explain, "We are the last of the Natchez." What is not obvious in Delacroix’s painting or, more precisely, from his note, is something that is quite clear in the picture’s textual source: when Chateaubriand introduces the infant boy, he is already dead. It would seem that Delacroix either ignored this detail or else relied on the public’s familiarity with Atala to bring this awful knowledge to bear when standing before the picture. Yet a third possible reading is that Delacroix depicts an earlier moment than the one described in the book.
The painting was widely noted in the press at the time of the Salon. Two critics, Charles Lenormant and Victor Schoelcher, were struck especially by Delacroix’s treatment of the landscape. Schoelcher wrote: "Nothing is sadder than this immense savannah, through which the river flows slowly and without a murmur; nothing more melancholy than this calm of nature, this air of solitude in which the two living, loving, suffering beings fleeing persecution find themselves. . . " (trans. in Jobert 1997, p. 103).
The Natchez did not find a buyer during or immediately after the Salon. Delacroix exhibited it in Moulins in 1836 and sold it the following year, apparently to baron Charles Rivet (see letter to Rivet, February 15, 1838).
[Asher Ethan Miller 2014]
Inscription: Signed (lower right): EugDelacroix
the artist, Paris (until 1837; possibly sold for Fr 1,200 to baron Charles Rivet; lottery, Lyons, 1837 or 1838, possibly won by Paturle); Monsieur Paturle (until 1872; his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, February 28, 1872, no. 7, for Fr 19,000 to Febvre); [Alexis Joseph Febvre, Paris, from 1872]; Charles Sedelmeyer, Paris (until 1877; his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, April 30, 1877, no. 25, for Fr 7,100); Paul Demidoff, principe di San Donato, Florence and St. Petersburg (in 1878); Monsieur Perreau (until 1881; sold on October 24, for Fr 6,000, to Goupil); [Goupil & Cie, Paris, 1881–87; stock no. 15678; their sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, May 25, 1887, no. 44, for Fr 5,000 to Escribe for Boussod, Valadon, probably bought in and sold for the same price to Guillot]; Edmond Guillot, Paris (until 1888; sold on December 31 for Fr 6,500 to Boussod, Valadon); [Boussod, Valadon & Cie, Paris, 1888; stock no. 19615, sold on December 31, for Fr 8,400, to Michel]; F. Michel (from 1888); Philippe George, Aÿ, France (until 1891; his sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, June 2, 1891, no. 17, for Fr 15,600); his widow, Mme Philippe George (until 1898; sold on May 16 to Durand-Ruel); [Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1898–99; stock no. 4666; sold on January 26, 1899 to Bernheim-Jeune]; [Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris, from 1899]; Monsieur Bessonneau, Angers (by 1916); his son-in-law(?), Monsieur Frappier (by 1923); Mme Frappier (by 1923–at least 1930); sale, former collection Bessonneau d'Angers, Galerie Charpentier, Paris, June 15, 1954, no. 31, for Fr 3,700,000 to Reid & Lefevre; [Reid & Lefevre, London, 1954–at least 1956]; Lord and Lady Walston, Thriplow, Cambridge (by 1959–89; on loan to National Gallery, London, April 1988–May 1989; sale, Christie's, New York, November 14, 1989, no. 31, to MMA)
Paris. Salon. March 1–?, 1835, no. 556.

Moulins. Société centrale des Amis des Arts en Province. "Exposition de 1836," 1836, suppl. no. 266 [see Johnson 1981].

Lyons. Le Concierge du Palais St-Pierre. "Exposition de la Société des Amis des Arts de Lyon," 1837, no. 72.

Paris. Durand-Ruel. "Exposition rétrospective de tableaux et dessins des maîtres modernes," 1878, no. 156 (lent by Prince Demidoff).

Paris. École Nationale des Beaux-Arts. "Exposition Eugène Delacroix au profit de la souscription destinée à élever à Paris un monument à sa mémoire," March 6–April 15, 1885, no. 32 (lent by MM. Boussod, Valadon et Cie).

Paris. Chambre Syndicale de la Curiosité et des Beaux-Arts. "Exposition d'oeuvres d'art des XVIIIe, XIXe et XXe siècles," April 25–May 15, 1923, no. 187 (as "Les Natchez," lent by Mme Frappier).

Paris. Bernheim-Jeune. "Exposition d'oeuvres des XIXe et XXe siècles," June–July 1925, no. 38 (lent by Mme Frappier).

Paris. Paul Rosenberg. "Expositions [sic] d'oeuvres d'Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863) au profit de la Société des amis du Louvre," January 16–February 18, 1928, no. 5 (lent by Mme Frappier).

Paris. Musée du Louvre. "Centenaire du romantisme: Exposition E. Delacroix," June–September 1930, no. 20 (lent by Mme Frappier).

London. Lefevre Gallery. "A Group of French Paintings of the XIX and XX Centuries," November 1954, no. 8.

Venice. Biennale. "Eugène Delacroix," June–September 1956, no. 4 [see Ref. Johnson 1981].

Paris. Musée du Louvre. "Centenaire d'Eugène Delacroix 1798–1863," May–September 1963, no. 220 (lent by Lord Walston, Cambridge) [memorial ed., no. 217].

Edinburgh. Royal Scottish Academy. "Delacroix," August 15–September 13, 1964, no. 7 (lent by Lord and Lady Walston, Cambridgeshire).

London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Delacroix," October 1–November 8, 1964, no. 7.

Paris. Bibliothèque nationale. "Chateaubriand, le voyageur et l'homme politique," 1969, no. 77 (lent by Lord Walston, Cambridge).

Kunsthaus Zürich. "Eugène Delacroix," June 5–August 23, 1987, no. 7 (lent by Lord and Lady Walston, Thriplow).

Frankfurt. Städtische Galerie im Städelschen Kunstinstitut. "Eugène Delacroix," September 24, 1987–January 10, 1988, no. 7.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863): Paintings, Drawings, and Prints from North American Collections," April 10–June 16, 1991, no. 3.

Rouen. Musée des Beaux-Arts. "Delacroix: la naissance d'un nouveau romantisme," April 4–July 15, 1998, no. 52.

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920," February 4–May 6, 2007, no. 16.

Berlin. Neue Nationalgalerie. "Französische Meisterwerke des 19. Jahrhunderts aus dem Metropolitan Museum of Art," June 1–October 7, 2007, unnumbered cat.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Philippe de Montebello Years: Curators Celebrate Three Decades of Acquisitions," October 24, 2008–February 1, 2009, online catalogue.

Caixa Forum Madrid. "Delacroix (1798–1863)," October 19, 2011–January 15, 2012, no. 76.

CaixaForum Barcelona. "Delacroix (1798–1863)," February 15–May 20, 2012, no. 76.

Eugène Delacroix. Journal entry. October 5, 1822 [Bibliothèque de l'Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art, collections Jacques Doucet, Paris, ms. 247; published in Joubin 1932, vol. 1, p. 15; Hannoosh 2009, vol. 1, p. 88], describes the prospective subject of this painting: "Une jeune Canadienne traversant le désert avec son époux est prise des douleurs de l'enfantement et accouche; le père prend dans ses bras le nouveau-né".

Eugène Delacroix. Journal entry. December 22 or 23, 1823 [Bibliothèque de l'Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art, collections Jacques Doucet, Paris, ms. 247; published in Joubin 1932, vol. 1, p. 39; Hannoosh 2009, vol. 1, p. 109], writes that his is working on this painting, calling it "mes sauvages".

"Salon de 1835 (IIIe article). Les peintres et les poètes." L'Artiste 9 (1835), p. 90.

G[uyot]. de F[ère]. Journal spécial des lettres et des beaux-arts 1 (1835), p. 204 [see Refs. Tourneux 1886 and Johnson 1981].

Critique du Salon de 1835, par une société d'artistes et d'hommes de lettres. 2nd ed. Paris, [1835], p. 13, criticizes it generally but finds merit in the female figure.

W. Le réformateur (March 15, 1835) [see Ref. Johnson 1981].

A[mbroise]. T[ardieu]. Le courrier français (March 30, 1835) [see Refs. Tourneux 1886 and Johnson 1981].

Charles Lenormant. "De l'école française en 1835: Salon annuel." Revue des deux mondes, 4th ser., 2 (April 1, 1835), p. 197 [reprinted in Lenormant, "Beaux-arts et voyages," Paris, 1861, p. 123].

V[ictor]. Schoelcher. "Salon de 1835. Deuxième article." Revue de Paris 16 (April 5, 1835), pp. 58–59.

E. S. La tribune politique et littéraire (April 6, 1835) [see Refs. Tourneux 1886 and Johnson 1981].

F. P. Moniteur universel (April 13, 1835) [see Ref. Johnson 1981].

A. "Salon de 1835." Le Constitutionnel (April 26, 1835), p. 1.

L[ouis]. P[eiss]e. Le Temps (April 30, 1835) [see Refs. Tourneux 1886 and Johnson 1981].

Eugène Delacroix. Letter to Thoré. January 18, 1836 [published in A. Joubin, ed. "Correspondance générale d'Eugène Delacroix," vol. 1, 1935, p. 409], lists this work as having been exhibited in 1835, and describes the subject, noting that it comes from Chateaubriand's "Atala".

"Variétés." L'Artiste 12 ([summer] 1836), p. 24.

"Variétés." L'Artiste 14 (1837), p. 212.

[Étienne-Joseph-] T[héophile]. Thoré. "Artistes contemporains. M. Eugène Delacroix (Suite)." Le Siècle (February 25, 1837), p. 2.

Eugène Delacroix. Letter to baron Charles Rivet. February 15, 1838 [published in Ref. Joubin 1936, p. 3–4], refers briefly to a painting which Joubin [see Ref. 1936] identifies as this work.

Eugène Delacroix. Journal entry. [ca. 1844–47] ["Carnet héliotrope," Bibliothèque de l'Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art, collections Jacques Doucet, Paris, ms. 246 bis, fol. 14v; published in Joubin 1932, vol. 3, p. 375; Hannoosh 2009, vol. 2, p. 1544], calls it "Les Natchez" and dates it 1835.

Théophile Silvestre. Delacroix. Paris, 1855, p. 80, lists it as "Femme qui vient d'accoucher dans un désert (Châteaubriand, Natchez [sic])".

Arnould de Vienne. "La Galerie de M. Paturle." L'Artiste, 6th ser., 2 (1856), p. 76.

[Achille Piron]. Eugène Delacroix: sa vie et ses oeuvres. Paris, 1865, p. 107, lists it under the year 1835, as in the collection of Mme Paturle.

Adolphe Moreau. E. Delacroix et son œuvre. Paris, 1873, pp. 160, 175–76, 252, states that Delacroix was forced to stop work on this picture in order to complete the "Massacre at Chios" (Musée du Louvre, Paris) in time for the 1824 Salon; gives early provenance information.

Émile Bergerat. Etude sur les collections Sedelmeyer, San Donato et San Martino. n.d., pp. XIII–XIV.

Philippe Burty, ed. Lettres de Eugène Delacroix. rev., enl. ed. Paris, 1880, vol. 1, pp. 222–23 [see Ref. Johnson 1981].

Alfred Robaut. L'œuvre complet de Eugène Delacroix. Paris, 1885, pp. 29, 35, 398, no. 108, ill. (engraving), claims that this picture was already well advanced by 1824 when Delacroix interrupted his work on it in order to devote himself to the "Massacre at Chios"; gives early provenance information [Robaut's personal, annotated copy, now in the Cabinet des Estampes, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, incorrectly indentifies the two figures as Chactas and Atala; gives further provenance information; see Ref. Johnson 1986].

Henry Houssaye. "L'exposition des oeuvres d'Eugène Delacroix à l'ecole des beaux-arts." Revue des deux mondes, 3me. pér., 68 (April 1, 1885), p. 668, incorrectly identifies the couple as Chactas and Atala.

Exposition Eugène Delacroix. Exh. cat., École nationale des beaux-arts. Paris, 1885, p. 39, no. 32, dates it 1824.

Maurice Tourneux. Eugène Delacroix devant ses contemporains. Paris, 1886, pp. 61–63, cites exhibition reviews from the 1835 Salon.

Étienne Moreau-Nélaton. Delacroix raconté par lui-même. Paris, 1916, vol. 1, pp. 154, 163, fig. 121, states that Delacroix kept this picture until sending it to Lyons to be included in the lottery organized by Charles Rivet.

Julius Meier-Graefe. Eugène Delacroix: Beiträge zu einer Analyse. Munich, 1922, ill. p. 99, dates it 1824.

Raymond Escholier. Delacroix: peintre, graveur, écrivain. Vol. 1, Paris, 1926, ill. p. 131.

Louis Hourticq. Delacroix: L'œuvre du maître. Paris, 1930, pp. 183, 191, ill. p. 7, as in the Frappier collection; dates it 1824.

André Joubin. Journal de Eugène Delacroix. Paris, 1932, vol. 1, p. 15 n. 2; vol. 3, p. 375 n. 6, pp. 521, 523, publishes Delacroix's related journal entries; calls the October 5, 1822 reference to this subject the artist's "première idée" for the painting; dates the list in which he included it to 1843 [see Delacroix n.d. (ca. 1844–47)].

André Joubin. Correspondance générale d'Eugène Delacroix. Vol. 2, Paris, 1936, pp. 3–4 n. 5, identifies as this work a painting which Delacroix mentions in a letter to Charles Rivet of 1838 [see Ref. Delacroix 1838], adding that baron Rivet had arranged for the picture to be bought from Delacroix in 1838 for Fr 1,200 for inclusion in a lottery, where it was won by a M. Paturle.

Maurice Sérullaz. Musée du Louvre, Eugène Delacroix: Dessins, aquarelles et lavis. [1952], p. 44, under no. 68, incorrectly states that this theme is taken from Chateaubriand's novel "Les Natchez"; dates the painting 1835.

Maurice Monda. "A la Galerie Charpentier: Une vente de tableaux produit 104 millions." Le Figaro (June 16, 1954), p. ?, ill., lists the picture as having been sold for Fr 3,700,000 at the Bessonneau d'Angers auction the previous day.

Art News Annual 24 (1955), ill. p. 14 [also published as Art News 53, part 2 (November 1954)], as an advertisement for the Lefevre Gallery, London; dates it 1824.

Lee Johnson. "Delacroix at the Biennale." Burlington Magazine 98 (September 1956), p. 327, discusses the dating of the picture, deciding that Delacroix probably completed it shortly after the "Massacre at Chios", and sent it to the 1835 Salon with only minor revisions.

Lee Johnson. "The Early Drawings of Delacroix." Burlington Magazine 98 (January 1956), p. 23, corrects Sérullaz's statement [see Ref. 1952] that this theme is taken from Chateaubriand's novel "Les Natchez," but himself notes that Robaut [see Ref. 1885] gives the painting the alternative title of "Chactas and Atala," without questioning this identification of the figures.

Giuseppe Marchiori. Delacroix alla Biennale. Venice, 1956, p. 41, no. 4, as belonging to the Lefevre Gallery, London; dates it 1824.

M. Monteverdi. "Gli equivoci della XXVIII Biennale di Venezia." Arte figurativa (July–August 1956), no. 4, ill. [see Christie's sale catalogue, 1989].

René Huyghe. Delacroix. New York, 1963, pp. 187, 282, 302, pl. 216 (detail), as in the Lord Walston collection, Cambridge; dates it 1824.

Maurice Sérullaz. Mémorial de l'Exposition Eugène Delacroix. Exh. cat., Musée du Louvre. Paris, 1963, pp. 163–65, no. 217, ill., as in the Walston collection, Cambridge; cites the passage from the epilogue of "Atala" which inspired this picture; gives extensive provenance information; includes quotes from two reviews of the 1835 Salon [see Refs. Fère 1835 and P. 1835].

Louis Hautecœur. Littérature et peinture en France du XVIIe au XXe siècle. Paris, 1963, p. 35.

Lee Johnson. Delacroix. 1963, pp. 6, 120, pl. 6, as in the Walston collection, Cambridge; states that it was begun in 1823, and gives the epilogue of Chateaubriand's novel "Atala" as the source.

Lee Johnson. Delacroix. Exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts. London, 1964, pp. 11, 17, 43, no. 7, pl. 5, dates it 1823–?35.

Maurice Sérullaz. "A Comment on the Delacroix Exhibition organized in England." Burlington Magazine 107 (July 1965), p. 366, adds to the provenance and exhibition history.

Lee Johnson. "Eugène Delacroix et les Salons." Revue du Louvre et des musées de France 16, nos. 4 and 5 (1966), p. 223.

Phoebe Pool. Delacroix. London, 1969, pp. 11, 28, colorpl. 7, finds the landscape in this picture somewhat like those of Constable; believes the figures to be among the best in Delacroix's early work; states that "although most of the picture was probably executed in the early 1820s, there may have been some re-working before it was first shown in the Salon of 1835".

Frank Anderson Trapp. The Attainment of Delacroix. Baltimore, [1970], p. 194 n. 33.

Luigina Rossi Bortolatto. L'opera pittorica completa di Delacroix. Milan, 1972, p. 92, no. 98, ill., dates it 1824.

Hugh Honour. L'Amérique vue par l'Europe. Exh. cat., Grand Palais. Paris, 1976, pp. XXXV, 247, 256–57, calls it one of Delacroix's most poetic works, not just a simple illustration from Chateaubriand but a poignant lament for a dying race; illustrates a preparatory drawing.

David Wakefield. "Chateaubriand's 'Atala' as a Source of Inspiration in Nineteenth-Century Art." Burlington Magazine 120 (January 1978), p. 21, fig. 21, calls it "a minor masterpiece and wholly in sympathy with the mood of the book".

Sara Lichtenstein. Delacroix and Raphael. PhD diss., Courtauld Institute of Art, London. New York, 1979, pp. 93–95, fig. 48, dates it 1823–35; relates the figure of the woman to that of the dead mother on the right of the "Massacre at Chios", and also to the figure of Cleopatra in a print by Agostino Veneziano of the "Death of Cleopatra" (Warburg Institute, London), after a design by a pupil of Raphael; relates the pose of the man to that of the kneeling angel in Raphael's "Baptism of Christ" (Vatican loggia).

Lee Johnson. The Paintings of Eugène Delacroix: A Critical Catalogue. Vol. 1, Oxford, 1981, pp. viii, xxi, 53, 78–80, 90, 244, no. 101, dates it 1823–?1835; states that it has been relined; believes that the picture "was conceived and probably mostly painted during the first half of the 1820s . . . but [that] the flesh passages may have been finished or reworked shortly before the [1835] Salon"; discusses the lottery of 1837 or 1838 in which the picture was included.

Maurice Sérullaz. Delacroix. Paris, 1981, pp. 178–79, no. 35, ill., dates it 1823–35.

Lee Johnson. The Paintings of Eugène Delacroix: A Critical Catalogue. Vol. 2, Oxford, 1981, pl. 88, gives early ownership history and mentions a later variant.

Maurice Sérullaz et al. Musée du Louvre, Cabinet des Dessins, Inventaire général des dessins école française, dessins d'Eugène Delacroix. Paris, 1984, vol. 1, p. 89, under no. 88.

Lee Johnson. The Paintings of Eugène Delacroix: A Critical Catalogue. Vol. 3, Oxford, 1986, pp. xxii, 287.

Günter Metken in Eugène Delacroix. Exh. cat., Kunsthaus Zürich. Zürich, 1987, pp. 80–81, 321, no. 7, ill. (color), dates it 1823, revised in 1835.

The National Gallery Report: January 1988–March 1989 (1989), pp. 21–22, 59, ill. (color), states that the picture was on loan to the National Gallery in London from April 1988 to May 1989.

Gary Tinterow in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1989–1990." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 48 (Fall 1990), pp. 5, 41–42, ill. in color on cover (detail) and p. 42 (overall), believes that Delacroix most probably only laid in the composition with a thin wash in 1823, and actually painted the work in 1834–35; compares the picture's technique to that of the 1834 "Women of Algiers" (Musée du Louvre, Paris).

John Russell. "Delacroix's Masterpiece of a Land He Never Saw." New York Times (September 6, 1990), p. C15, ill.

Patrick Noon. Richard Parkes Bonington: 'On the Pleasure of Painting'. Exh. cat., Yale Center for British Art, Yale University. New Haven, 1991, p. 263, under no. 135, states that Bonington knew the painting in 1827, at the time he executed "An Indian Maid" (Paris, Louvre, inv. 35281).

Lee Johnson et al. Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863): Paintings, Drawings, and Prints from North American Collections. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1991, pp. 7, 28–29, 45, 66, no. 3, ill. (color and black and white), states that "recent inspection in the conservation studio of the Museum has shown [that the picture was] probably executed for the most part shortly before the Salon of 1835".

Everett Fahy. "Selected Acquisitions of European Paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987–1991." Burlington Magazine 133 (November 1991), pp. 801, 807, colorpl. XII.

Barthélémy Jobert et al. in Delacroix: la naissance d'un nouveau romantisme. Exh. cat., Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen. Paris, 1998, pp. 43, 45, 151, 177, no. 52, ill. p. 41 (color).

Barthélémy Jobert. Delacroix. Princeton, 1998, pp. 49, 58, 102–4, fig. 65 (color) [French ed., Paris, 1997, pp. 50, 58, 102, 104, fig. 65 (color)].

Peter Brooks. History Painting and Narrative Delacroix's 'Moments'. Oxford, 1998, pp. 13, 15, fig. 7, discusses the text that accompanied the work in the Salon of 1835, noting that it "makes clear Delacroix's desire that we understand what leads up to this moment, and indeed, why the chosen moment is precisely the one that lends itself to, and calls for, illustration".

Richard Thomson in Theo van Gogh: Marchand de tableaux, collectionneur, frère de Vincent. Exh. cat., Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. Paris, 1999, pp. 71, 75, 78, 200 n. 64, fig. 58 (color).

John F. Moffitt. "The Native American 'Sauvage' as Pictured by French Romantic Artists and Writers." Gazette des beaux-arts 134 (September 1999), pp. 124–26, 129 n. 21, fig. 4, dates it about 1822–23, 1834–35.

Paul Joannides. "Delacroix and Modern Literature." The Cambridge Companion to Delacroix. Ed. Beth S. Wright. Cambridge, 2001, pp. 132, 217 n. 15, notes that Chateaubriand inspired the painting, calling it "sweet, covertly bitter, because the baby, watched by the exhausted mother and held by the proud father, is soon to die".

Lee Johnson. "Fourth Supplement and Reprint of Third Supplement." The Paintings of Eugène Delacroix: A Critical Catalogue. [3rd supplement, 1993]. Oxford, 2002, pp. 323–24, no. 101, adds to the provenance and exhibition history; notes that the picture was cleaned after the MMA acquired it.

Gary Tinterow in The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. New York, 2007, pp. 36, 211–12, no. 16, ill. (color and black and white).

Dominique Dumas. Salons et expositions à Lyon 1786–1918: Catalogue des exposants et liste de leurs œuvres. Dijon, 2007, vol. 1, p. 407.

Karen Wilkin. "Homage at the Metropolitan." New Criterion 27 (December 2008), p. 6.

Patrick Noon. Richard Parkes Bonington: The Complete Paintings. New Haven, 2008, p. 403, under no. 371.

Barthélémy Jobert in Une passion pour Delacroix: La collection Karen B. Cohen. Exh. cat., Musée National Eugène Delacroix. Paris, 2009, p. 25.

Colta Ives in Une passion pour Delacroix: La collection Karen B. Cohen. Exh. cat., Musée National Eugène Delacroix. Paris, 2009, pp. 30, 34, 161, fig. 11 (color).

Michèle Hannoosh, ed. Eugène Delacroix: Journal. Paris, 2009, vol. 1, pp. 88, 109, 124 n. 69, p. 134 n. 134, vol. 2, p. 1544, publishes Delacroix's related journal entries; calls Delacroix's October 5, 1822 reference to this subject his "première idée" for the painting; notes that work on it was still progressing on March 3, 1824; in vol. 2, p. 1540, dates the later list on which the artist included the painting to about 1844–47 [see Delacroix n.d. (ca. 1844–47)].

Robert Houle in Robert Houle's Paris/Ojibwa. Exh. cat., Art Gallery of Peterborough. Peterborough, Canada, 2011, pp. 52–53, ill. (color), notes that Delacroix painted the picture ten years before seeing and drawing members of the Ojibwa tribe.

Amar Arrada in Delacroix (1798–1863): De l'idée à l'expression. Ed. Sébastien Allard. Exh. cat., CaixaForum Madrid. [Madrid], 2011, pp. 194–95, 322, no. 76, ill. (color) [Spanish ed., "Delacroix (1798–1863): De la idea a la expresión].

Kathryn Calley Galitz. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings. New York, 2016, p. 431, no. 331, ill. pp. 342, 431 (color).

Etched by Bracquemond for the catalogue of the 1872 Paturle sale.
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