The Grotto of Posillipo is actually a nearly half-mile-long tunnel that was cut through the rocky promontory separating Naples from the town of Posillipo in the first century. It became an icon of the Grand Tour in the eighteenth century. This sketch may have been painted as early as Rémond’s first visit to Naples, in 1822. It was included in an auction of hundreds of oil studies that the artist organized in 1842, which testifies to the interest in these informal works among collectors of the period.
The Grotto of Posillipo is a nearly half-mile-long tunnel that was cut through the rocky promontory separating Naples from the town of Posillipo in the first century. It became an icon of the Grand Tour in the eighteenth century. Rémond visited the site in 1822, making a dated plein-air drawing (École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris) and an oil sketch (Musée Bonnat, Bayonne) there, both with the same composition. They served as the basis for a lithograph of 1828 that was included in the suite Souvenirs de Naples dessinés d’après nature, published in 1831 (see Vincent Pomarède in Pierre Rosenberg, ed., La donation Jacques Petithory au musée Bonnat, Bayonne: Objets d’art, sculptures, peintures, dessins, exh. cat., Musée de Luxembourg, Paris, 1997, pp. 130–32, no. 141).
This sketch is painted more broadly than the one in Bayonne, but it is more difficult to date. It may have been painted as early as 1822 and was undoubtedly completed before February 1842, when Rémond included it among the 268 oil studies he put up for auction (see Provenance and Notes), which testifies to an interest in such informal works among collectors. Later that year Rémond returned to Italy.
[Asher Ethan Miller 2013]
the artist, Paris (until 1842; his sale, Paris, February 21–23, 1842, no. 12, as "Entrée de la grotte de Pausilipe"); sale, Sotheby's, Monaco, June 21, 1986, no. 287, as École française, début su XIXe siècle, "Entrée de la grotte du Pausilipe," to Whitney; Wheelock Whitney III, New York (from 1986)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Path of Nature: French Paintings from the Wheelock Whitney Collection, 1785–1850," January 22–April 21, 2013, unnumbered cat. (fig. 65).
Asher Ethan Miller. "The Path of Nature: French Paintings from the Wheelock Whitney Collection, 1785–1850." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 70 (Winter 2013), p. 47, fig. 65 (color).
Inscribed on the stretcher: vue de la grotte du Pausilipe route de Naples à Pouzzules; paper label from the artist’s sale held in Paris on February 21–23, 1842 (see Provenance), inscribed: No. 12. Entrée de la gro[tte] du P[ausilipe] / près Naples