1790 - 1846
Self Portrait as a Prisoner

Oil on canvas, signed and dated ‘1810’ bottom centre
Image size: 32 x 25 3/4 inches (81.25 x 65.5 cm)
Original gilt frame

 

Provenance
Philippe E. Mendes, Paris
Estate of William J Levy Park Avenue, New York

 

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The artist sits shackled in a prison cell, with the moonlight flowing through a window in the top right corner. Guerin is expressing silent worry about the censorship re-established at the time by Napoleon. The painting is a melancholic prefiguration of Rodin’s Thinker

Gabriel-Christophe Guerin

Son of the engraver Christophe Guerin, Gabriel-Christophe Guerin was born in Kehl on November 9, 1790.

He was a pupil of Regnault at the school of fine arts and studied in Paris in 1820. After this he returned to Strasbourg where he worked alongside his father who was the Director of the Museum of Fine Arts. Here Gabriel-Christophe had a successful career as a history painter and it was he who trained most of the contemporary Alsatian artists who achieved fame at this time, such as Gustave Brion (1824 – 1877).

His painting ‘Gutenberg Inventing Printing in Stradbourg in 1436’ was shown at the Paris Salon in 1827 alongside the work of Eugene Delacroix. Often his chief work is considered to be ‘Le Mort de Polynice’ for which he obtained a gold medal at the Louvre in 1817 and soon after this it was hung at the Strasburg Museum. Another self portrait is also part of the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Strasbourg along with several other paintings and drawings by the artist.

Guerin died in Hornbach on September 20, 1846.