North African Man and Woman with Baskets of Vegetables and Fruit

Colorful pastel drawing of a man and woman seated next to each other on the ground, with a gray wall and baskets of vegetables and fruits at left

Eugène Delacroix (Charenton-Saint-Maurice 1798–1863 Paris)
North African Man and Woman with Baskets of Vegetables and Fruit, ca. 1853
Pastel on paper
8 9/16 × 12 1/2 in. (217 × 317 mm)
Promised Gift from the Collection of Elizabeth and Jean-Marie Eveillard
Photo by Joseph Coscia Jr.


In 1832, two years after the French subjugation of Algeria, Delacroix embarked on a six-month-long expedition to North Africa. During these travels, the chromatic effects of pastel, its speed of execution, and the ease of carrying it became particularly appealing to Delacroix, and his interest in the medium never waned nor did his fascination with North Africa. Probably made in Paris some twenty years after his North African trip, this drawing belongs to a series of works that often forego geographical specificity and ethnographic accuracy. Reflecting an “Orient” of the artist’s own making, they have as much to do with the taste of European audiences as with the realities of North Africa. One of twenty pastels of a North African subject, this is one of just a dozen pastels by Delacroix to bear a signature: usually highly finished works, his signed pastels were often given away by the artist as gifts or sold as independent works of art.

  269 — (1) Spoken Label and (2) Curator's Personal Reflection
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