Toulon 1798 – 1885
A lithograph representing a battle scene surrounded by drawn studies of four heads, two soldiers, and a Battle scene, decorated letters forming the signature.
A lithograph pasted on a brown paper; pen and China ink, watercolor.
Inscribed on the lithograph: Letuaire. Lithographié au pinceau. Lith. Gabert Pl. St Pierre X. 1. Toulon. Signed Letuaire with decorated letters.
11 7/16 x 16 in. (lithograph 5 4/16 x x 8 ½ in.)
A painter, draughtsman and a caricaturist, Pierre Letuaire spent all his career in Toulon, his native town, where very early on after his father’s death he worked as a draughtsman and an illustrator in order to provide for the needs of his family. He was employed as a drawing teacher in a college in Toulon from 1823 to 1867, but he also developed free drawing courses for craftsmen, such as builders and carpenters, an activity for which he was given the Légion d’honneur in 1860 by Napoleon III. In 1844 he became the correspondent of the newspaper L’Illustration, but also worked for other magazines such as Le Mistral, La Provence artistique et pittoresque, Le Monde illustré. Letuaire was a fervent defender of provençal language which he employed to write comedies, poetry, songs and chronicles of the city.
A rare painter, Letuaire is mostly known for his drawings: a caricaturist of soldiers, convicts, and street characters, he is sometimes called the “Daumier toulonnais”. The veracity in his depictions of military scenes – Napoleons campaigns but also African and Crimean wars – has led to think that he had himself participated in military campaigns. However, it seems Letuaire never actually left Toulon, a port and military town where he could have observed the military world as much as he needed it and from which he could have drawn all the authenticity of his illustrations. Letuaire obtained a lithograph license, but he never made use of it and preferred to work with lithographers from Toulon, such as Pascal Louis Gabert, who executed the battle scene pasted on this drawing.
This object is a special montage done by the artist, who placed the lithograph executed after his composition on the center of a brown paper on which he drew other military scenes and figures of soldiers with watercolor. The artist’s signature openly stretches out with humor and poetry, its letters in the form of instruments, ox’s horns and seagull’s wings. On the whole, the work is very charming and possesses the particular wit of objects made by artists without any other purpose than their own pleasure.
Condition reports – The print is attached by the four corners and by lower and left edges to the center of the sheet. Recto = A small tear upper right near the figure’s hat (visible on the photograph). A small white stain lower right. Very good overall condition.
Verso = The sheet attached by paper mounting tape on the four corners and edges centers. A small paper loss lower center (visible on the verso, but hidden by the mount on the recto). Eight adhesive residues on the verso.