The Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s (SBMA) current exhibition, Delacroix and the Matter of Finish, reveals a previously unknown painting by the French Romantic artist Eugène Delacroix. The work is a variant of The Last Words of Marcus Aurelius, one of Delacroix’s favorite subjects, and was identified by Eik Kahng, SBMA’s chief curator.

The painting is but one highlight of Delacroix and the Matter of Finish. The artist’s connection to the French Romantic Movement is also examined through the exhibition and book. The essays and works presented in the catalogue contextualize Delacroix’s work, underscoring his relationships with both the Neoclassical and Impressionist movements.

Marquand Books produced Delacroix and the Matter of Finish, designed by Susan Kelly and Jeff Wincapaw. The 168-page book features more than 130 full-color illustrations. Contributions by scholars Marc Gotlieb and Michèle Hannoosh illuminate Delacroix’s personality, from his notorious teaching techniques to his fascination with the downfall of great civilizations.

Delacroix and the Matter of Finish is open now through January 26. To learn more about the exhibition, visit SBMA. To purchase a copy of the catalogue, visit Yale University Press.


Photography by Jeremy Linden