Gérôme attributed the success of his animal paintings to his early studies at the menagerie of the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. The soft handling and the unemphatic drawing in this painting are characteristic of Gérôme’s work from the 1880s. It was probably painted about 1884, when the artist exhibited another nocturnal scene featuring tigers, Night in the Desert, at the Paris Salon (now Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh).
Inscription: Signed (lower left): J.L. GEROME
Susan P. Colgate, Sharon, Conn. (by 1934–d. 1936)
New York. American Federation of the Arts. "Romantic Art, 1750–1900," October 1965–October 1966, no. 12.
Queens, N.Y. Queens Museum. "The Artist's Menagerie: Five Millennia of Animals in Art," June 29–August 25, 1974, no. 73 (as "Tiger and Cubs").
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920," February 4–May 6, 2007, no. 39.
Berlin. Neue Nationalgalerie. "Französische Meisterwerke des 19. Jahrhunderts aus dem Metropolitan Museum of Art," June 1–October 7, 2007, unnumbered cat.
L[ouise]. G. B[urroughs]. "Notes." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 32 (March 1937), p. 75.
Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 2, XIX Century. New York, 1966, p. 172, ill., call it "Tiger and Cubs" and suggest that "the soft handling and unemphatic drawing" date it to the 1880s.
Gerald M. Ackerman. The Life and Work of Jean-Léon Gérôme, with a catalogue raisonné. London, 1986, pp. 120, 256–57, no. 331, ill. (color and black and white), dates it about 1884.
Gerald M. Ackerman. Jean-Léon Gérôme: Monographie révisée, catalogue raisonné mis à jour. 2nd rev. ed. (1st ed., 1986). Paris, 2000, pp. 124, 312–13, no. 331, ill. (color and black and white).
Kathryn Calley Galitz inThe Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. New York, 2007, pp. 62, 217, no. 39, ill. (color and black and white).
Kathryn Calley Galitz inMasterpieces of European Painting, 1800–1920, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, pp. 71, 254, no. 65, ill. (color and black and white).