The Whitney Collection, Promised Gift of Wheelock Whitney III, and Purchase, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles S. McVeigh, by exchange, 2003
Not on view
Pallière, a pupil of François André Vincent, was awarded the Prix de Rome for history painting in 1812. On July 22, 1816, the director of the Académie de France à Rome, Charles Thévenin, reported that Pallière was making progress on his final envoi to the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Mercury and Argus (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux), noting that the artist "makes a great number of landscape studies after nature, and in the painting which presently occupies him, he has made a felicitous application of that which he has learned in this part of his art (letter to vicomte Joseph-Henri-Joachim Lainé, Minister of the Interior; Archives, Académie de France à Rome, box 23). A posthumous list of Pallière’s works compiled a few years later mentions "a great number of views from nature, of picturesque sites and monuments in Italy, which at the very least attest to a great facility on the part of their author" (A[lphonse]. Mahul, Annuaire nécrologique, 2e année , Paris, 1822, p. 261; italics in original).
The Museum’s study, painted in somewhat muted tones, shows a view in the gardens of the Villa d’Este at Tivoli. It is one of only two landscape oil sketches by Pallière that have been identified to date; the other, probably painted during the same excursion, depicts the famous waterfalls nearby (private collection, Paris). Pallière’s evident interest in imbuing the backgrounds of his figure paintings with a fidelity to nature may also lie behind such works as Prédication en plein air, exhibited at the Salon of 1819 (location unknown).
[Asher Ethan Miller 2013]
sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, February 20, 1984, no. 21bis, as "Villa d'Este à Tivoli," by Gallien(?), sold to Whitney; Wheelock Whitney III, New York (from 1984)
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. 41).
Asher Ethan Miller. "The Path of Nature: French Paintings from the Wheelock Whitney Collection, 1785–1850." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 70 (Winter 2013), pp. 35, 47, fig. 41 (color).
The stretcher bears an early inscription: Léon Pallière / Villa d'este à Tivoli. This may or may not be in the artist's hand; a similar inscription including is found on the reverse of the view of the falls at Tivoli in a private collection (see Catalogue Entry).