Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Aqueduct in Ruins

Artist:
Hubert Robert (French, Paris 1733–1808 Paris)
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
32 1/8 x 54 1/8 in. (81.6 x 137.5 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1906
Accession Number:
07.225.264b
Not on view
Almost all of the paintings from the Hôtel Rouillé de l'Étang apparently include a water feature, in this case a basin overflowing into a stream forded by a flock of sheep. To the left is a shepherd with his dog, and to the right, a boy who washes his hat at the fountain. The curving aqueduct occupies the middle distance.
This overdoor is one of a pair; its pendant, of almost exactly the same dimensions, is Bridge over a Cascade (07.225.264a). The two may have formed part of a much larger ensemble that included a pair of smaller overdoors and five upright canvases varying in height from eighty-three to 233 centimeters. All were perhaps acquired by David Étienne Rouillé de l'Étang for the great house that he remodeled at 6, place Louis XV, later place de la Concorde, in the last quarter of the eighteenth century. The house and collection passed by descent to Marie Jeanne Louise Thérèse de Pastoret (1814–1890), who married the marquis du Plessis-Bellière and in 1870 removed the Roberts to the château de Moreuil. They were sold in 1897; one belongs to the Musée du Louvre, Paris. Almost all of the paintings from the Hôtel Rouillé de l'Étang apparently include a water feature, in this case a basin overflowing into a stream forded by a flock of sheep. To the left is a shepherd with his dog, and to the right, a boy who washes his hat at the fountain. The curving aqueduct occupies the middle distance.

[Katharine Baetjer 2011]
David Étienne Rouillé de l'Étang, 6, place Louis XV, Paris (until d. 1811); his niece, Adélaïde Anne Louise Piscatory, marquise de Pastoret, Paris (1811–d. 1843); Amédée David de Pastoret, marquis de Pastoret, Paris (1843–d. 1857); Marie Jeanne Louise Thérèse de Pastoret, marquise du Plessis-Bellière, Paris, later (from 1870) château de Moreuil, Somme (1857–d. 1890; her estate sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, May 10–11, 1897, no. 72, for Fr 2000); [Georges Hoentschel, Paris, until 1906; sold to Morgan]; J. Pierpont Morgan, New York (1906)
Collection de Mme la Marquise du Plessis-Bellière. Hôtel Drouot, Paris. May 10–11, 1897, pp. III–V, 22, no. 71, states that in 1776 Mme Rouillé de l'Étang and her son built a hôtel on place Louis XV and commissioned Hubert Robert to decorate it (the pictures are nos. 71–83 in this catalogue).

Pierre de Nolhac. Hubert Robert, 1733–1808. Paris, 1910, p. 151, mentions the sale of the marquise du Plessis-Bellière at which this picture fetched two thousand francs.

Charles Sterling. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of French Paintings. Vol. 1, XV–XVIII Centuries. Cambridge, Mass., 1955, p. 170, ill.

Nicole Hoentschel et al. Georges Hoentschel. Saint-Rémy-en-l'Eau, 1999, ill. pp. 198, 200 (gallery installations), reproduces photographs of it hanging in Hoentschel's gallery on Boulevard Flandrin.



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