Lot 65
  • 65

Hubert Robert

150,000 - 200,000 USD
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  • Hubert Robert
  • Landscape with painters near a waterfall
  • signed and dated lower right: H. ROBERT/1807
  • oil on canvas
  • 91 1/2 x 104 1/4 inches


Duc de Bauffremont, Paris;
Due de Caylus, Paris, by 1965;
In the collection of the present owner since 1979.


Munich, Haus der Kunst, Im Licht von Claude Lorrain: Landschaftsmalerei aus drei Jahrhunderten, 12 March - 29 May 1983, cat. no. 149;
New York, Wildenstein, Hubert Robert: The Pleasure of Ruins, 15 November - 16 December 1988, p. 91 (no number).


"Beaux objets à Paris dans une grande collection: chez le duc de Caylus," in Connaissance des Arts, No. 156, February 1965, reproduced p. 71;
E. Steingräber, Zweitausend Jahre europäische Landschaftsmalerei, Munich 1985, reproduced plate 129.


The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, simonparkes@msn.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's. This painting has not been recently restored. The lining is applied with wax as an adhesive, and it seems to provide an even and stable paint layer. In general the condition is quite good, especially considering the scale and period of the picture. As one would expect, there are some restorations. However, these are poorly applied and visible to the naked eye. The work is composed of three pieces of canvas; one join runs horizontally through the lower center and the other runs horizontally about 4 inches from the top edge. Both of these joins are stable, but the restorations to these joins are visible to the naked eye. There are also restorations in the broken branch in the lower left quadrant, in the lower sky, in a few isolated spots in the upper sky, in the water behind the artist, in the artist's red coat and his face, and in the rocks behind the other two figures. There is an area directly above the signature in the lower right measuring about 8 inches horizontally by 4 inches vertically that seems to be restored and bear unoriginal paint. There is a horizontal crack here which is visible to the naked eye. The signature and the date do not fluoresce under ultraviolet light. At the very least, the discolored retouches should be adjusted. Ideally, the work would be cleaned and retouched more accurately as this would greatly improve the appearance of the picture.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

This impressive waterfall landscape, dating from near the end of Robert’s life, is a fanciful recreation of the falls at Tivoli which the artist had often sketched during his lengthy stay in Italy between 1754 and 1765.  Following his return to France, he utilized the subject repeatedly, both in cabinet pictures and large decorative compositions.

Depicted at the summit of the upper most cliff are the ruins of a structure known in the 18th century as the Villa of Maecenas which, in Roman times, may have been a sanctuary devoted to the cult of the victorious Hercules.  At the foot of the cascades, Robert has depicted two artists with drawing portfolios.  Another artist in the foreground has set up his easel on the bank overlooking the falls and is engaged in a session of plein-air painting, an activity that did not become widespread until the second quarter of the 19th century.

This painting will be included in the forthcoming critical catalogue of the paintings of Hubert Robert being prepared by the Wildenstein Institute.