73
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PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF J.E. SAFRA

Hubert Robert
FIGURES ON HORSEBACK DEPARTING A RUINED, VAULTED BUILDING WITH COLONNADES
Estimate
200,000300,000
LOT SOLD. 212,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
73

PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF J.E. SAFRA

Hubert Robert
FIGURES ON HORSEBACK DEPARTING A RUINED, VAULTED BUILDING WITH COLONNADES
Estimate
200,000300,000
LOT SOLD. 212,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Master Paintings Evening Sale

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New York

Hubert Robert
PARIS 1733 - 1808
FIGURES ON HORSEBACK DEPARTING A RUINED, VAULTED BUILDING WITH COLONNADES
signed lower left on a pedestal: H. Robert
oil on canvas
28 1/8  by 34 1/4  in.; 71.5 by 87 cm.
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Provenance

Anonymous sale, London, Christie's, 20 May 1920, lot 1010;
Where acquired by F. Sabin for 800 gns.;
Eugène IR, 1923 (according to a label on the reverse of the frame);
Mme Mir, Paris, 1925
Anonymous sale ("Property of a Gentleman"), London, Sotheby's, 8 July 1999, lot 85;
There acquired by the present collector.

Exhibited

Paris, Laboratoire Scientifique, L'Art Français au Service de la Science, 1923 (according to a label on the reverse of the frame);
Paris, 1925 (lent by Mme Mir).

Catalogue Note

Hubert Robert was the pre-eminent French landscape painters of the late 18th century, training for over a decade in Rome before establishing himself at the center of the Parisian art world upon his return to the city in 1765.  During these early years, Robert developed what would be a life-long fascination with architecture and his many depictions of ruins earned him the sobriquet “Robert des Ruines.”  By the time the artist returned to Paris, he was already successful and well-known.  He was accepted as a member of the Academy in 1766 and, in 1778, was appointed designer of the King’s gardens and given lodgings in the Louvre.  He exhibited regularly at the Salons until 1797 and completed countless commissions for the nobility, aristocracy and foreign dignitaries throughout his career.  He was renowned for his imaginary landscapes featuring ancient ruins and beautiful gardens, often incorporating both known and fantastical architectural elements in his compositions.  

The present painting includes many of the elements for which Robert was so highly lauded: a dramatic and elegant architectural setting; a charming narrative set within it; and a stunning sense of warm light pervading through the entire scene.  The dust kicked up by the horses lends an air of romance and mystery to the striking and beautiful scene. 

A highly finished drawing of this composition, almost certainly done in preparation for this painting, was in the Bourgarel collection and sold at Sotheby's Monaco, 5 December 1991, lot 13 (fig. 1). The drawing is inscribed, signed and dated on a stone slab center left: Hubert  obert/...Romae/1760, and a similar date may be proposed for the present painting, whose canvas indeed appears to be Italian.  The figures come from a circa 1730 painting by François Boucher, now in the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts in Massachussetts; the painting was engraved with the title Les Voyageurs.1   Robert repeats the figures in a circular painting that was until recently in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Signed and dated 1777 and paired with a pendant The Old Bridge, the Metropolitan picture depicts the figures emerging from a pathway between two ruins of colonnaded buildings.2  The same site as the present painting was used by Robert in another painting, this time with two women riding a camel, formerly in the collection of the Comte de Japonaise until sold at Sotheby's London, 6 March 1957, lot 160.



1. See A. Ananoff, François Boucher, Paris 1976, vol. I, pp. 189-90, cat. no. 53, reproduced p. 189. For the engraving see cat. no. 53/1, reproduced p. 189. 
2. The Ruins, oil on canvas, diameter 83.2 cm. See K. Baetjer, European Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art by artists born before 1865: a summary catalogue, New York 1995, p. 382, reproduced.  The painting and its pendant were deaccessioned by the museum and sold New York, Christie's, 6 June 2012, lot 81 for $1,874,500. 

Master Paintings Evening Sale

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