The Upper Part of a Door Panel, 1852-1865

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This remarkably lifelike etching—Bracquemond’s most famous—depicts a crow, bat, sparrow hawk, and owl nailed to a barn door. The precision of feathers and skin is all the more astounding considering the artist’s age (nineteen) and training (he taught himself to etch from an encyclopedia). The print’s composition adds to its power: a collection of triangular shapes arranged to form a triangle.

Bracquemond’s son, Pierre, said his father spotted this scene at a farm in the northern French town of Villers-Cotterêts. These winged creatures were probably killed by a landowner who thought they preyed on his game birds. In the 1865 edition shown here, Bracquemond added a moralizing verse alluding to human predators in our midst: “Here you see sadly hung / Birds both covetous and scavenging / To all their kind let their example teach / That flying and stealing are not the same.”

The Upper Part of a Door Panel
Artist Life
Accession Number
William M. Ladd
Catalogue Raisonne
Beraldi 110 v/v; Bouillon Ac1
Curator Approved

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