Hubert Robert (Paris 1733-1808)
Hubert Robert (Paris 1733-1808)

A gorge with figures on a rock above a waterfall, painted on an octagonal French creamware plate with a beaded rim

Details
Hubert Robert (Paris 1733-1808)
A gorge with figures on a rock above a waterfall, painted on an octagonal French creamware plate with a beaded rim
inscribed 'SL' (centre right, on the rock), and with inscription 'peint par Robert paris dans Sa prison de St. Lazare En 1794' (on the reverse) and impressed on the reverse with the maker's mark 'LAMBERT ET COMPIE X'
oil on ceramic, octagonal
9.3/8 in. (24 cm.) diam.

Lot Essay

From 29 October 1793 to August 1794, at the height of the revolution, Hubert Robert was imprisoned for failing to renew his citizen's card. He painted this plate in the seminary of Saint-Lazare, which had been converted into a jail by the Revolutionary regime. A similar example, La Promenade dans le Parc, was sold at Sotheby's, New York, 11 January 1990, lot 137 (see catalogue of the exhibition, ed. A. Wintermute, Claude to Corot, The Development of Landscape Painting in France, Colnaghi, New York, 1 November to 15 December, 1990, p. 217, no. 46). According to the artist's obituary written by his friend Etienne Vige, Robert made many drawings and fifty paintings during his imprisonment there, presumably including those he made on the earthenware soup plates from which he ate; he traditionally gave his decorated plates to prison guards who would then sell them for a louis d'or (24 francs).

This painting will be included in the catalogue raisonn of the paintings of Hubert Robert prepared by the Wildenstein Institute (judgement based on photographs).
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