The Statue

Hubert Robert (French, 1733-1808)

Not Currently on View
Image Licensing

Robert studied in Rome from 1754 until 1765 and developed a fascination with ancient architecture. He continued to depict partially ruined structures, both real and imagined, throughout his career, earning the nickname "Robert of the Ruins." Here, Robert has commingled present and past, life and decay. Vegetation grows from the crumbling arch and figures lean on architectural fragments and gesture toward the weathered statue, reminding the viewer of the relationships between ancient civilization and today.

The size and horizontal format of this work are typical of a decoration to be hung over a doorway. This "overdoor" would have been part of a group of paintings, likely also depicting ruins, that formed a cohesive decorative suite for an elite interior.

Sold at (Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, France) in 1926;
{1} Probably (Thomas Agnew and Sons, London, England).
{2} Governor Alvan T. Fuller [1878-1958], Boston, Massachusetts, in the 1920s; The Fuller Foundation, Boston, Massachusetts; Sold at Christie, Manson & Woods, London, England, in 1961;
{3} (Thomas Agnew and Sons, London, England) in 1961; Mrs. George Henry Alexander Clowes of Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1965;
{4} Clowes Fund Collection, Indianapolis, Indiana; On long-term loan to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Courtesy of the Clowes Fund, since 1971 (C10068); given to the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 2015.

{1} Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, Tableaux anciens par L. Boilly, S. Bourdon, F. Casavova, H.-P. Danloux, J. Heinsius, Mlle V. Lemoisne, J.-B. Leprince, etc. [La Collection de Madame X…},, 6-7 December 1926, lot no. 119 (ill.);
{2} Fuller purchased many items from Thomas Agnew and Sons, London; see Perry T. Rathbone’s introduction to the exhibition catalogue, A Memorial Exhibition of the Collection of the Honorable Alvan T. Fuller, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1959, pp. 7-12. This painting was not included in this exhibition. According to Rathbone, Fuller collected in the 1920s, making his last acquisitions in 1929; see above, p. 12.
{3} Christie, Manson & Woods, London, Fine Pictures by Old and Modern Masters: The property of the Fuller Foundation, Inc., Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 1 December 1961, lot no. 72.
{4} See receipt issued by Thomas Agnew & Sons to Mrs. G.H.A. Clowes, dated 19 June 1965, in IMA Clowes file (C10068).

Object Information

Hubert Robert (French, 1733-1808)
oil on canvas
26 x 60 in. (canvas)
approximately 40 x 70 x 3-1/2 in. (framed)
accession number
credit line
The Clowes Collection
Public Domain
European Painting and Sculpture Before 1800

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