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Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Inscription Credit
Description Highly ambiguous, this drawing can be read in a number of ways, and the caption only serves to make the image more enigmatic. The central character of this vignette wears an elaborate costume and covers his mouth in a gesture of deep contemplation. We are given access to his thoughts: "I have hurt Pamela." But if the dancing girl behind him is Pamela, she looks anything but hurt! Either Pamela is not really hurt, and the man is presumptuous in his belief that she is, or this woman is the object of Pamela's disaffection. The lack of any setting further enhances the mystery. Although it is called "Actors," a title curators assigned it when they originally catalogued it into the collection in the 1930s, there is nothing to indicate that this is a scene from a play, and it could just as easily represent an event during carnival season or a masquerade ball.
Date Description Narrative
4/20/1979Examinationexamined for exhibition
1/01/2002Treatmentexamined for exhibition; other
  • Watercolors and Drawings by Gavarni. National Gallery of Art, Washington. 1953-1954.
  • A Supple Brush: The Flowering of Continental Watercolors. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1979.
  • A Connoisseur's Portfolio: Nineteenth-century Drawings and Watercolors in the Walters Art Gallery. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1983.
  • The Essence of Line: French Drawings from Ingres to Degas. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham; Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma. 2005-2006.
Provenance Purchased by William T. Walters (through George A. Lucas as agent), Baltimore, 1865 [1]; inherited by Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894; by bequest to Walters Art Museum, 1931. [1] The Diary of George A. Lucas, p. 146.
Inscriptions [Signed] Lower right, in iron gall ink: Gavarni; [Inscription] Bottom, in iron gall in: J'ai fait de la peine à Pamèla; [Translation] I have hurt Pamela
Credit Acquired by William T. Walters, 1865

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transparent watercolor with graphite underdrawing, brown iron gall ink and red ink on cream, moderately thick, smooth wove paper
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
H: 13 1/8 x W: 8 3/8 in. (33.3 x 21.2 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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