This drawing is closely related to a painting of the same subject by Hubert Robert which was exhibited at the Salon of 1789 (fig. 1; see also Marie-Catherine Sahut, Le Louvre de Hubert Robert, Paris 1979, p. 167, no. 167, reproduced). The composition of the drawing is in reverse to that of the painting and does not contain all the same monuments. Shown here are: the Colonnade of the Louvre which Robert shows completed, although it had been left unfinished in 1678; the Porte Saint-Denis; the Colonne de Jean Bullant; and the statue of Henri IV which was installed on the Pont Neuf in 1614 and destroyed in 1792, although the four slaves which surrounded its pedestal are in the Louvre. Sahut, in the catalogue cited above, points out Robert's fascination with the creation of imaginary juxtapositions of monuments, both antique and modern, and mentions several other examples.
Eunice Williams first proposed that this drawing, which is so reminiscent of Fragonard, should be attributed to Hubert Robert. While noting that it can be difficult to date such drawings, she was inclined to suggest the mid 1760s because of the way the artist has elaborated his black chalk sketch with wash. In the light, however, of the clear connection with a painting of 1788, it is probable that the drawing is also of the late 1780s. Two other drawings of that period are helpful comparisons for Robert's work in this less familiar technique: a Sketch of an Imaginary Roman Building, in the Cleveland Museum, and a Canal Bordered by Colonnades, in the Musée Fabre, Montpellier (see Victor Carlson, Hubert Robert, Drawings and Watercolors, exhibition catalogue, Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, 1978, cat. nos. 43 and 54).
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale