A visit to the cataracts of the Aniene River, which courses through and surrounds Tivoli, was considered to be a highlight of the Grand Tour. Denis, a fixture of the expatriate community in Rome, went there on at least three occasions. He adopted the viewpoint seen in this plein-air sketch for a number of studio paintings, including one that commemorates a 1789 excursion undertaken with the artist Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (private collection).
Inscription: Signed and inscribed (verso): a Tivoli. Sn Denis / 30
sale, Sotheby's, Monaco, June 19, 2002, no. 205, as "Cascades à Tivoli," for Fr 24,420 ($4,636); [Galerie de Bayser, Paris]; Eugene V. Thaw, New York (by 2002–9)
New York. Pierpont Morgan Library. "The Thaw Collection: Master Drawings and Oil Sketches, Acquisitions Since 1994," September 27, 2002–January 19, 2003, no. 72 (as "Paysage de Tivoli").
South Hadley, Mass. Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. "Valenciennes, Daubigny, and the Origins of French Landscape Painting," September 7–December 12, 2004, unnumbered cat. (as "Paysage de Tivoli").
Cara Dufour Denison inThe Thaw Collection: Master Drawings and Oil Sketches, Acquisitions Since 1994. Exh. cat., Pierpont Morgan Library. New York, 2002, pp. 160–61, no. 72, ill. (color).
Valentina Branchini. "Simon Denis (1755–1813) in Italia: Dipinti e Disegni di Paesaggio." PhD diss., Università di Bologna, 2002–3, pp. 88, 90, 101, no. 10, ill., calls it "Nei pressi delle Cascatelle"; compares it to other treatments of the subject executed between 1790 and 1795.
Geneviève Lacambre. "Two Series of Studies in Oil on Paper Numbered by Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes and Simon Denis." Studying Nature: Oil Sketches from the Thaw Collection. Ed. Jennifer Tonkovich. New York, 2011, pp. 74, 81, no. 30, calls it "Around the Waterfalls, with a River Embankment and Cascade" and deduces that the number 30 on the verso situates it within the range of works similarly inscribed 1 through 30, whose primary motifs are waterfalls and rocks.
Esther Bell. "Catalogue Raisonné of the Thaw Collection." Studying Nature: Oil Sketches from the Thaw Collection. Ed. Jennifer Tonkovich. New York, 2011, p. 115, no. 42, ill. (color), calls it "Aniene River at Tivoli".