A new painting by Rémond for Montpellier

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4/5/23 - Acquisitions - Montpellier, Musée Fabre -The Musée Fabre kept Jean Charles Joseph Rémond’s immense historical landscape from the Salon of 1837 - along with its preparatory sketch acquired in 2016 (see the news item of 31/1/17) - as well as a picturesque medium-format Landscape of Italy, but none of his countless and renowned landscape studies painted on the motif. This gap has now been filled, as the Montpellier museum has acquired a Study of the Tivoli Waterfall painted by the artist in Italy in the 1820s from the Descours gallery. Grand Prix for historical landscape in 1821 with Pluto and Proserpine - the preparatory sketch of which recently joined the Musée des beaux-arts d’Orléans (see article) -, Rémond, a pupil of Jean-Victor Bertin, lived at the Villa Medici from 1822 to 1825. On private loan, this study was exhibited in Evreux and then in Amiens in 2014-2015 on the occasion of the exhibition Sur la route d’Italie. Peindre la nature d’Hubert Robert à Corot, le goût d’un collectionneur (see article). It was one of a series of landscapes by French neoclassical artists active in Rome in the first half of the 19th century.

Jean-Charles-Joseph Rémond (1795–1875)
Study of the Cascade at Tivoli, c. 1822-1825
Oil on canvas - 42 x 32 cm
Montpellier, Musée Fabre
Photo: Musée Fabre
See the image in its page

As Pierre Stépanoff [1]- curator of old master paintings and sculptures at the Musée Fabre, which he will soon leave to take up the post of head of the museums of Amiens (see news item of 13/2/23) - points out in his detailed note, the unsigned canvas is attributed to Rémond by stylistic comparisons with other signed Italian studies painted at the same time. He cites three studies of unknown location since their appearance on the market in the 1990s, The Waterfalls of Terni, The Tomb of Virgil and View of Tivoli from a Grotto. In all of them, the same taste for expressive contrasts of light and shadow and the particular way in which green and golden foliage emerges from darker areas is apparent. The study that joins Montpellier is said to be a representation of the famous Tivoli waterfall and may depict the grotto of the mermaids near the Aniene Falls, at the foot of the Temple of the Sibyl, of which the museum also holds a view from an earlier decade by Johann Christian Reinhart. The viewpoints chosen by the two painters would then differ considerably. Where Reinhart takes in the landscape from a very wide angle and does not fail to include the classical motifs of the temple and the shepherd at rest, Rémond eliminates all anecdotal elements. One can barely make out the temple on the cliff top.

With this new study, the Musée Fabre now has a group of paintings that are perfectly representative of Rémond’s artistic approach, the great historical landscapes that he made his speciality being inextricably linked to his assiduous study of nature painted on the spot. This Study of the Tivoli Waterfall also joins in the Montpellier collections the corpus of landscape studies painted from the motif in the years 1780-1790 already preserved, a corpus recently honoured by the exhibition Le voyage de Louis Gauffier en Italie presented at the Musée Fabre and then at the Musée Sainte-Croix in Poitiers (see article).

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