first part of XIXe siècle
Wool, silk, cotton
Gift of Société des Amis du musée Delacroix, 2002
This Moroccan jacket was made from a piece of red wool fabric, and decorated with plum-colored trim and two fake, yellow silk, appliqué pockets. It is one of the Moroccan items that Delacroix brought back from his trip to this country, from January to July 1832. Charles Cournault (1815–1904) inherited a number of these objects, which are now in the Musée Eugène Delacroix.
The jacket is lined with gray-green cotton serge trimmed with a silk braid. The inside of the cuffs are also lined with plum-colored silk and yellow silk. The sleeves, which are tapered at the forearm, are buttoned with round brass buttons. This cut and designs of this jacket look similar to the jacket worn by the black model with a red turban in a pastel portrait by Delacoix in the 1820s; this work in now in the museum [RF 32 268].
In 1832, Delacroix spent nearly six months in North Africa with the diplomatic mission led by the Comte de Mornay to the Moroccan Sultan, Muley Abd-err-Rahmann. He was immediately intrigued and fascinated by the headdresses and outfits that gave the Moroccans such an ancient and majestic look: "The costumes are the same and very simple, yet depending on the various ways it is fitted it acquires a confusing beauty and nobility." He therefore made multiple sketches of these clothes—sometimes simple, limited to a large wool or brown coat with a straight hood over the head; sometimes highly colorful and with gilded headdresses: Four Studies of Costumes. (Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings, RF 9 154, 34 r), Study of Meschla (Paris, Musée des Arts décoratifs), Three Studies of Arab Women (Paris, Musée du Louvre, Department of Prints and Drawings, RF 3 719).
Like the other Moroccan objects displayed in the museum, this red jacket comes from the grandson of Charles Cournault (1815–1904), a painter who, following the example of Auguste and Delacroix, was among the first group of Orientalist painters. He and Delacroix maintained a certain friendship for several years. He would not forget Cournault when writing his will, as he bequeathed “two chests from Morocco [the museum has one of them] and all the objects from Algeria, weapons, clothing, pillows, scarves, etc."
Lee Johnson, "La collection Charles Cournault", in Bulletin de la Société de l’Histoire de l’Art français, 1978, p. 249 - 262
Maurice Sérullaz, Eugène Delacroix, Paris, 1989, p. 456.