Hubert ROBERT (Paris 1733 - Paris 1808)

Figures in the Courtyard of an Italian Palazzo Sold

Black chalk.
Laid down on a backing sheet.
Inscribed Paul Anezi del. Cab. De Spengler N0.11. on the old mount
172 x 135 mm. (6 3/4 x 5 1/4 in.)


Previously unknown and unpublished, this drawing is a study for Hubert Robert’s painting Staircase with Columns, datable to the 1770s and today in the collection of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. The painting was one of eight works that Robert sent to Czar Alexander I in 1803 by way of Count A. S. Stroganov, and may be regarded as among the finest of the group. The painting was admired for Robert’s handling of light and his ability to create the illusion of an expansive space in what is quite a small canvas. The present sheet is the only known preparatory study by Robert for this important painting.

We are grateful to Sarah Catala for confirming the attribution of the present sheet to Hubert Robert.

Johan Conrad Spengler, Copenhagen (Lugt 1434), his drystamp at the lower centre
His sale, Copenhagen, 8 October 1839 onwards (bt. Wolff)
Benjamin Wolff, Engelholm, Denmark (Lugt 420), with his drystamp at the lower left
Thence by descent.


Figures in the Courtyard of an Italian Palazzo


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