The complete translation, in PDF form, is here. I’m leaving this post, and all related posts, online so that the translators continue to be recognized.

Awhile back I purchased a book titled, Méthode de dessin à l’usage des écoles et des lycées contenant l’enseignement analytique de l’art du dessin (1867). The book is 26 pages long, containing 24 lithographic plates describing the process of drawing the human figure and head. It is one of many of its kind which were produced in the nineteenth century in order to help train painters. You may be familiar with the Bargue-Gerome book. This book is similar. What makes this particular book important is that its author, Adolphe Yvon (1817–1893), taught John Singer Sargent while he was studying at the Ecole des Beaux Arts.

As far as I can tell, the only publicly available copy of the book is in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

We are about to change that.

Given its age, the book is clearly out of copyright and therefore I am going to make a digital version available, for free. The goal is to translate it into English and post a PDF of the completed project.

But, I need your help! I speak no French and read precious little.

So, let’s see if the power of the internet can bring this together. Above is the cover page of the folder (Yvon’s book is actually a folio of unbound pages contained in a cardboard portfolio folder, tied together with red fabric ribbon). Translating the cover is not difficult, especially with Google or Bing Translate. However, word-for-word translation does not always provide the true meaning of the text.

If you speak French, and want to help, simply translate the cover text and put your translation into a comment on this post, below, or e-mail it to me via the contact form, here. As each page gets translated I will post the next page, and so on, until the book is complete. At that point, I will format the PDF, incorporating the translations into the page scans along with the aforementioned supplemental material. Once that is finished I will post the PDF online, for free.

Sargent - The Dancing Faun (1873-1874)
Sargent, The Dancing Faun (1874), Black chalk and charcoal on paper, drawn while he was studying at the Ecole.

The following quote is from a letter Sargent wrote to a friend. It describes an exam, or series of exams, that Sargent was undertaking at the Ecole in the fall of 1874 while under the tutelage of Adolphe Yvon.

“I am in the midst of my exam and very busy consequently I can only write a few lines to thank you for your kind and interesting letter. The exam is the Concours de Place for the life school of M. Yvon and it seems unreasonably long, difficult and terrible. It began on the 26th of September and two weeks are still to come. The Epreuves de Perspective et d’Anatomie are over; I wish I might say as much for the Dessin d’Ornement which is in store for us tomorrow morning. But the supreme moment is one of twelve hours wherein we must make a finished drawing of the human form divine. Heaven only knows whether I shall get through; also Heaven alone could bring such a miracle to pass; therefore let us implore its aid and do our best. After this Concours my regular winter work will commence at the Atelier [of Carolus Duran].”1
-John Singer Sargent (1874)

1As quoted in John Sargent, by Evan Charteris, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1927, page 22.

Thanks to Ramon Alexander Hurtado,Drawing and Painting Instructor at LAAFA, the cover has been translated!

Cover Translation:

Method of Drawing for use in Schools and High Schools.

Contains the analytical teaching of the art of drawing and proportions of the human figure based on the tradition of Antiquity and the Great Masters.

By Adolphe Yvon Professor at the National School of Fine Arts

Lithographic plates by Soulange-Teissier
Professor of drawing at Louis-le-Grand high school (secondary school).

A. Lemercier
Rue de Seine 57

In addition to Ramon, I have been contacted by a number of other translators offering to help. The more the merrier!

One such offer may be translating the book into Dutch.

Pages 1 and 2 are here.