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Evening: Landscape with an Aqueduct

Théodore Gericault (French, Rouen 1791–1824 Paris)

Date:
1818
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
98 1/2 x 86 1/2 in. (250.2 x 219.7 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Purchase, Gift of James A. Moffett 2nd, in memory of George M. Moffett, by exchange, 1989
Accession Number:
1989.183
  • Gallery Label

    This work is one of a projected set of four monumental landscapes representing the times of day that Gericault painted in his Paris studio. (Only three were completed.) Conceived as a decorative ensemble, the paintings fuse souvenirs of ruins in the Italian countryside, which the artist had visited in 1816 and 1817, with the grand manner exemplified by past masters Nicolas Poussin and Joseph Vernet. The stormy sky and turbulent mood of this picture exemplify notions of the Sublime and the aesthetic of the emerging Romantic movement.

  • Provenance

    René Petit-Le Roy, Paris (until 1903; sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, May 30, 1903, no. 23, as "Paysage avec rochers et constructions," together with no. 22 for Fr 1,205 to Lavillé); Monsieur Lavillé; ?comte de Saint-Léon, château de Jeurre (until 1937); ?[Nat Leeb, Paris, 1937–49; sold to Ujlaky]; ?[Alexandre Ujlaky, Paris, from 1949]; [Paul Brame and César de Hauke, Paris, 1952–54; sold to Chrysler]; Walter P. Chrysler Jr., New York (1954–d. 1988; on loan to The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, from 1971; his estate sale, Sotheby's, New York, June 1, 1989, no. 110; sold to MMA)

  • Exhibition History

    Winterthur. Kunstmuseum. "Théodore Géricault 1791–1824," August 30–November 8, 1953, no. 70 (as "Paysage d'Italie au coucher du soleil").

    Portland Art Museum. "Paintings from the Collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.," March 2, 1956–April 14, 1957, no. 73 (as "Landscape with an Aqueduct. Evening").

    Seattle Art Museum. "Paintings from the Collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.," March 2, 1956–April 14, 1957, no. 73.

    San Francisco. California Palace of the Legion of Honor. "Paintings from the Collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.," March 2, 1956–April 14, 1957, no. 73.

    Los Angeles County Museum. "Paintings from the Collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.," March 2, 1956–April 14, 1957, no. 73.

    City Art Museum of St. Louis. "Paintings from the Collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.," March 2, 1956–April 14, 1957.

    Minneapolis Institute of Arts. "Paintings from the Collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.," March 2, 1956–April 14, 1957, no. 73.

    Kansas City, Mo. William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art. "Paintings from the Collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.," March 2, 1956–April 14, 1957, no. 73.

    Detroit Institute of Arts. "Paintings from the Collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.," March 2, 1956–April 14, 1957, no. 73.

    Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "Paintings from the Collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.," March 2, 1956–April 14, 1957, no. 73.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paintings from Private Collections: Summer Loan Exhibition," July 1–September 1, 1958, no. 64 (lent by Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.).

    Dayton Art Institute. "French Paintings 1789–1929 from the Collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.," March 25–May 22, 1960, no. 15 (as "Landscape with an Aqueduct").

    New York. Finch College Museum of Art. "French Landscape Painters from Four Centuries," October 20, 1965–January 9, 1966, no. 14 (lent from the collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.).

    Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Gericault," October 12–December 12, 1971, no. 31 (lent by Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., New York).

    Detroit Institute of Arts. "Gericault," January 23–March 7, 1972, no. 31.

    Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Gericault," March 30–May 14, 1972, no. 31.

    Raleigh. North Carolina Museum of Art. "French Paintings from the Chrysler Museum," May 31–September 14, 1986, no. 19.

    Birmingham Museum of Art. "French Paintings from the Chrysler Museum," November 6, 1986–January 18, 1987, no. 19.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Gericault's Heroic Landscapes: The Times of Day," November 6, 1990–January 13, 1991, no. 11 (as "Evening: Landscape with an Aqueduct").

    Paris. Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais. "Géricault," October 10, 1991–January 6, 1992, no. 161 (as "Paysage à l'aqueduc" dit "Le soir").

    Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920," February 4–May 6, 2007, no. 6.

    Berlin. Neue Nationalgalerie. "Französische Meisterwerke des 19.Jahrhunderts aus dem Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," June 1–October 7, 2007, unnumbered cat.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Philippe de Montebello Years: Curators Celebrate Three Decades of Acquisitions," October 24, 2008–February 1, 2009, online catalogue.

  • References

    Charles Clément. "Catalogue de l'œuvre de Gericault—Peinture." Gazette des beaux-arts 23 (September 1867), p. 275, under no. 13, under the heading "Peintures (1810 à 1812)," mentions a pendant to the work now in Munich as a painting (possibly this picture) which is unknown to him, but which was in Gericault's studio during the execution of "The Raft of the Medusa" (Musée du Louvre, Paris) [see also Ref. Clément 1868, p. 280, under no. 16].

    Charles Clément. "Géricault (1er article)." Gazette des beaux-arts 22 (March 1867), p. 235, mentions two landscapes "en hauteur," in the manner of "Guaspre" [Gaspard Dughet], one which represents fishermen putting a boat into the water, in the collection of M. Dornan [now Neue Pinakothek, Munich], and the other, which friends had seen for a long time in Gericault's studio, but of which Clément can find no trace, possibly this picture.

    Charles Clément. Géricault, étude biographique et critique avec le catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre du maitre. 3rd ed. [1st ed. 1867]. Paris, 1879 [reprinted in Lorenz Eitner, "Charles Clément: Gericault," New York, 1974, pp. 72, 280, 448, under no. 16], under the heading "Peintures (1810 à 1812)," lists it as a pendant to the picture in Munich, possibly this painting.

    Lorenz Eitner. "Two Rediscovered Landscapes by Gericault and the Chronology of His Early Work." Art Bulletin 36 (June 1954), pp. 131–42, fig. 2, calls it "Ideal Landscape," and locates it in a private collection, Paris; identifies the "Landscape with a Roman Tomb" (Musée du Petit Palais, Paris) as no. 16 in Clément's catalogue, and this picture as the pendant mentioned under no. 16; dates them probably 1814–16 on the basis of style and comparison with related landscapes and drawings; mentions a sheet of drawings (actually studies for the picture "Morning," Neue Pinakothek, Munich) then in the collection of Pierre Dubaut, Paris (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon) which he states includes the same tree that appears at the upper left of this picture; discusses the connection of the MMA and Paris works to the existing traditions of landscape painting in France.

    Lorenz Eitner. "Gericault at Winterthur." Burlington Magazine 96 (August 1954), p. 258.

    Max Huggler. "Two Unknown Landscapes by Gericault." Burlington Magazine 96 (August 1954), pp. 234, 237, figs. 2–3 (overall and detail), calls it "Evening" and lists it as in a private collection; calls the Petit Palais picture "Morning"; identifies them as the two works listed by Clément under no. 16 of his catalogue; states that the two pictures represent spring and autumn, as well as morning and evening; finds them to be closer to the tradition of Claude than to that of Dughet; dates them to just before Gericault's departure for Italy in 1816; finds this picture to be more traditional in composition, mood, and technique than the Petit Palais work, and believes that "Evening" was probably painted first.

    Denise Aimé-Azam. Mazeppa: Gericault et son temps. Paris, 1956, p. 126, dates this and the Petit Palais work March 1816.

    Lorenz Eitner. "The Sale of Gericault's Studio in 1824." Gazette des beaux-arts 53 (February 1959), pp. 119–21, concludes that the MMA and Petit Palais pictures [the only two of the series of four that he knew about at this time] are unlikey to have been included in no. 18 of Gericault's studio sale as "Quatre esquisses de paysages" sold for Fr 52 because of the small price they fetched.

    Lorenz Eitner. Gericault: An Album of Drawings in the Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago, 1960, p. 35, under Folio 43, suggests that the sketches on folio 43 of the Chicago Album represent the beginning stages of a work, which finally led to the painting of two large landscape panels, the MMA and Petit Palais pictures.

    Robert Lebel. "Gericault, ses ambitions monumentales et l'inspiration italienne." L'arte 25 (October–December 1960), pp. 328–335, 340 nn. 8–9, p. 341 nn. 16, 22, 24, fig. 2, calls it "Grand paysage d'Italie au coucher du soleil"; identifies the newly-rediscoverd Munich picture (then in the collection of Huntington Hartford, New York) as no. 16 of Clément's catalogue; hypothesizes about the existence of a fourth canvas; considers it possible that these four pictures may have been sold as no. 18 in Gericault's studio sale [see Ref. Eitner 1959]; suggests possible subsequent ownership of each painting; believes that the three known works could have been painted at a different time, suggesting 1810–12 for the Paris picture, 1812–16 for the MMA picture, and 1816–17 for the Munich picture; relates the nude figure clinging to the rocks to a figure in "The Deluge" (Louvre, Paris) and also to a painting of a shipwrecked man (formerly collection Van Der Kelen, Paris); notes that the parasol pine at the left of this picture is very close to the one appearing at the right of the Munich work.

    Jean Leymarie. French Painting: The Nineteenth Century. Geneva, 1962, p. 63.

    Lorenz Eitner. "Gericault's 'Dying Paris' and the Meaning of his Romantic Classicism." Master Drawings 1 (Spring 1963), pp. 22–23, 32–33 nn. 5, 12, 13, does not accept Lebel's [Ref. 1960] suggestion that the three landscapes of the series may date from different times, stating that their stylistic homogeneity and unity of format makes it obvious that they "were executed at one time, for one particular purpose and place" and dates them 1814–16; places them within a group of paintings and drawings which he states "marks Géricault's turning from contemporary to antique or timeless subject matter and the beginning of his striving for a grandly monumental, sculptural style".

    Antonio del Guercio. Gericault. Milan, 1963, pp. 33–34, 142, no. 27, ill., calls it "La sera," places it in the collection of W. P. Chrysler Jr., New York, and dates it 1815.

    Denise Aimé-Azam. Gericault: L'énigme du peintre de la "Méduse". Paris, 1970, pp. 152, 375, dates this picture and the Paris painting March 1816 in the text, and 1816–17 in the bibliography, erroneously stating that both works had been bought by the Musée du Petit Palais [see Ref. Aimé-Azam 1956].

    Lorenz Eitner. Gericault. Exh. cat., Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Los Angeles, 1971, p. 15 n. 1, pp. 18, 67–69, 71, 178, no. 31, ill., dates it about 1815–16; relates the lighting effects to Claude, the aqueduct, rock, and buildings to Claude Joseph Vernet, and the bathers to Michelangelo.

    Joanna Szczepinska-Tramer. "Recherches sur les paysages de Gericault." Bulletin de la Société de l'Histoire de l'Art Français (1973), pp. 299–300, 303, 306–7, 310–11, 313, discusses the dating of the series, concluding that the pictures must have been painted after Gericault's stay in Italy (i.e., after 1817); comments on the importance of the works of Joseph Vernet on the series.

    Serge Lemoine. Donation Granville: Catalogue des peintures, dessins, estampes et sculptures œuvres réalisées avant 1900. Dijon, 1976, vol. 1, p. 139.

    Philippe Grunchec. L'opera completa di Gericault. Milan, 1978, pp. 106–7, no. 129, colorpl. XXVI and fig. 129, as in the Chrysler Museum, Norfolk.

    Philippe Grunchec. Gericault. Exh. cat., Villa Medici. Rome, 1979, pp. 218–21, fig. A, considers the existence of a fourth landscape to complete the series to be not unlikely; believes that the series must date from after 1817, in support of which theory, he suggests that Gericault may have been inspired by the creation in 1817 of a Grand Prix de Rome in the category of historical landscape.

    Lorenz Eitner. "The Literature of Art." Burlington Magazine 122 (March 1980), p. 210, dates the three landscapes about July–August 1818.

    Donald A. Rosenthal. "Gericault's Expenses for 'The Raft of the Medusa'." Art Bulletin 62 (December 1980), p. 638 n. 6, tentatively dates this picture, as well as the Munich and Paris works, 1818–19, on the basis of a document which indicates that in July and August of 1818 Gericault bought three large pieces of canvas of the approximate sizes of these three paintings.

    Hélène Toussaint. French Painting: The Revolutionary Decades, 1760–1830. Exh. cat., Art Gallery of New South Wales. Sydney, 1980, pp. 106–7, ill., discusses the early provenance, suggesting Henri Marsaux (rather than "Marceau"; see 1903 sale catalogue) as the person for whom the series was painted; believes this painting to depict Morning and the Paris work Evening; further hypothesizes that the series represents a "philosphical allegory relating the destiny of man," stating that the figure with the staff in the foreground of this work symbolizes "the departure of the free man towards his encounter with destiny"; considers the possibility of a fourth painting to complete the series.

    Lorenz E. A. Eitner. Gericault, His Life and Work. London, 1983, pp. 142–45, 340 nn. 24–27, colorpl. 120, as in the Walter P. Chrysler Museum; assumes that the three canvases bought by Gericault in July and August 1818 [see Ref. Rosenthal 1980] were used for the MMA, Munich, and Paris paintings, and thus dates the series 1818; calls them "pictorial fantasies based entirely on artistic conventions, and very little affected by fresh experience or by memories of Italy"; discusses the influence of Joseph Vernet; comments on the compositional elements that tie the three pictures together, concluding that each work was probably intended for a separate wall, with the MMA and Munich pictures flanking the Paris painting; illustrates schematic drawings of the series in two different sequences; considers the possibility that the MMA picture might represent Morning, and the Munich picture Evening; believes that Gericault painted the Paris work first, originally intending it as a single composition, not part of a series, and then painted the MMA and Munich pictures in rapid succession; relates the figure of the nude bather seen from behind to that of the "Bull Tamer" (pen and ink drawing; Musée du Louvre, Paris), which he states Gericault had earlier adapted from a figure in Michelangelo's "Battle of Cascina" (unrealized; known through partial copies and studies).

    Jefferson C. Harrison. The Chrysler Museum Gallery Guide. Norfolk, Va., 1985, unpaginated, no. 3, ill., calls it "Landscape with Ruins".

    Scott Schaefer. Sotheby's Art at Auction 1988–89 (1989), pp. 26, 28–29, fig. 1 (color), reveals the existence of the fourth painting of the series ("Night"), gives detailed provenance information of all four pictures, and dates them 1818.

    Peter Galassi in Claude to Corot: The Development of Landscape Painting in France. Exh. cat., Colnaghi. New York, 1990, pp. 240–41, fig. 8, calls it "Landscape with Bathers (Evening)".

    Gary Tinterow. Gericault's Heroic Landscapes: The Times of Day. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1990, pp. 3, 7, 10, 14–26, 28–33, 35–38, 41, 44, 47, 49, 51–56, 58–61, 70, no. 11, ill. on cover and inside front cover, fig. 6 and p. 52 (overall and details, all in color) [published in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, vol. 68, Winter 1990/91], firmly dates the series 1818; extensively discusses the tradition of representation of the Times of Day, and of landscape painting in general, within which this series was created; thoroughly explores all possible provenances for the pictures; finds the evidence of the existence of a fourth painting to be inconclusive, and reproduces all four of Nat Leeb's drawings after the series (figs. 29–32), which Leeb claimed to have made in 1937 just before buying the four works from the comte de Saint-Léon; considers the drawing at the upper right of the sheet of studies in the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon (cat. no. 9; see also Ref. Eitner 1954) to be one of the earliest sketches for the MMA painting.

    Gary Tinterow in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1989–1990." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 48 (Fall 1990), pp. 5, 40–41, ill. (color).

    Everett Fahy. "Selected Acquisitions of European Paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987–1991." Burlington Magazine 133 (November 1991), p. 806, colorpl. IX.

    Sylvain Laveissière Régis Michel in Gericault. Exh. cat., Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais. Paris, 1991, pp. xiv, 122, 280–81, 370–72, no. 161, colorpl. 204.

    Bernard Noël. Gericault. Paris, 1991, pp. 40, 43–44, ill. (color).

    Véronique Sulzer and Christian Geoffroy. "Principales acquisitions des musées en 1990." La Chronique des arts (supplement of the Gazette des beaux arts) 67 (March 1991), p. 57, no. 248, ill., call it "Soir, paysage avec un aqueduc" and date it 1817.

    Germain Bazin. "Le retour à Paris: Synthèse d'expériences plastiques." Théodore Géricault, étude critique, documents et catalogue raisonné. 5, Paris, 1992, pp. 8–10, 13–15, 123, no. 1426, ill. (color and black and white), calls it "Paysage à l'aqueduc".

    Patrick Noon in Patrick Noon. Crossing the Channel: British and French Painting in the Age of Romanticism. Exh. cat., Tate Britain. London, 2003, pp. 194–95, 197, fig. 53 (color).

    Masterpieces of European Painting, 1800–1920, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, pp. 24–25, 252–53, no. 23, ill. (color and black and white).

    Gary Tinterow in The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. New York, 2007, pp. 24–25, 216, no. 6, ill. (color and black and white).

    Karen Wilkin. "Homage at the Metropolitan." New Criterion 27 (December 2008), p. 6.



  • Notes

    This is one of a series of four monumental landscapes representing the times of day in the style of Joseph Vernet, probably intended to decorate a single room. Three of the four are known today: "Morning: Landscape with Fishermen" (Bazin no. 1428; Alte Pinakothek, Munich), "Noon: Landscape with a Roman Tomb" (Bazin no. 1427; Petit Palais, Paris), and "Evening: Landscape with an Aqueduct" (Bazin 1426; MMA). The fourth work, representing Night, has not been seen since 1949, and some argue that although Gericault contemplated its execution, he never completed it. The three existing pictures were made in the summer of 1818, perhaps for the house of Gericault's friend Marceau or else for the Salon, but none of the paintings were ever exhibited during Gericault's lifetime.

    The present work is possibly one of four landscapes catalogued in the posthumous sale of Gericault's studio, Paris, November 2–3, 1824, no. 18, sold for F 92; later whereabouts unknown; possibly at the Château de Montmorency, Montmorency, after 1886–until before 1903 (Tinterow 1990).

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