« La Tourgue en 1835 »

  • Victor Hugo (1802 – 1885)

  • 30,3 x 19,8 cm
  • 1876
  • Pen and brown ink wash on laid paper
  • MVHP D 0096
  • Victor Hugo’s home, Paris

The drawings of Victor Hugo, with the exception of the great cycle for Toilers of the sea, are only rarely directly related to his literary work. “La Tourgue en 1835” is one of the drawings which was done specifically as an illustration project as the writer noted in his diary on the date of 30 May 1876: “I did a drawing of la Tourgue in ruins for the illustrated Ninety-Three”. Written in Guernsey in 1872 and 1873, the novel was published the following year. As was his usual custom, the first publication was never an illustrated edition, but one followed soon after. The drawing, engraved by L. F. Méaulle, appeared in the Hughes edition. We know that for his hero, Hugo took the surname of Juliette Drouet, “Gauvain”. Also for the family castle he was inspired by the Mélusine tower of the castle of Fougères, the birthplace of Juliette, which he had visited and drawn in June 1836 (and not 1835 as the inscription on the drawing reads). Hugo thus blends the realistic memory of the tower of Fougères and literary fiction, with the ruins of the burned gallery. The drawing shows great technical skill particularly in the use of a fine lace mesh obtained by diffusion of ink on wet paper. This use of the random is very modern. La Tourgue is probably the last great drawing of Victor Hugo, whose artwork declined in the last years of his life.

Notice's author : Gérard Audinet