The Fountain
c. 1775
Hubert Robert (French, 1733-1808)
Not on View

Hubert Robert was a prolific artist, known above all for his landscapes and sentimental scenes of ruins and fountains. He spent eleven years in Italy, where at a relatively young age he had already attained some success, largely because of his ability to cater to visitors and tourists by painting small, portable panels that could be transported easily and serve as a record of their grand tour. After his residency at the French Academy in Rome, he travelled to Naples with the Abbé Saint-Non, a prolific collector and engraver, whose prints of Robert’s paintings were widely circulated and contributed to Robert’s notoriety. Through Saint-Non, Robert was introduced to Fragonard, with whom he travelled to Tivoli, where nearby Hadrian’s Villa (Villa Adriana) and the gardens of Villa d’Este may have inspired his many paintings of parks with fountains and water features.

This delicate composition was presumably painted from a sketch the artist made during his time in Italy. A larger version of the same composition, painted around 1794, now hangs in the Baltimore Museum of Art; it is said that Robert painted that version when he was imprisoned for a time during the Revolution.


  • Artist Name: Hubert Robert (French, 1733-1808)
  • Title: The Fountain
  • Date: c. 1775
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 26 x 20 in. (66.0 x 50.8 cm)
  • Credit Line: The Norton Simon Foundation
  • Accession Number: F.1965.1.055.P
  • Copyright: © The Norton Simon Foundation

Object Information

?Trouart, Paris (sale, Paris, 1779, lot 72, as Une vue de jardinBau mileau est un jet d’eau que l’on aperçoit entre deux grans arbres placés sur le devant du tableau, qui est orné de trois figures, 63 x 47 cm), sold to;
“Paris,” or “Parice.”
Patrick O’Connor, sold 11 December 1961 to;
[Duveen Bros., New York, stock no. 30393, sold 1965 to];
The Norton Simon Foundation.

Hubert Robert: Paintings and Drawings

  • Poughkeepsie, Vassar College, Art Gallery, 1962-10 to 1962-11

Nature Transformed

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2004-10-08 to 2005-02-28

[on loan]

  • Music Center, Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County, 1984-03-30 to

Three Centuries of French Art: Selections from The Norton Simon, Inc. Museum of Art and The Norton Simon Foundation_1

  • California Palace of the Legion of Honor, 1973-05-03 to 1976-06-15

Lock, Stock and Barrel: Norton Simon's Purchase of Duveen Brothers Gallery

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2014-10-24 to 2015-02-16
  • Nolhac, Pierre de, Hubert Robert, 1910, p. 103
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. D46 p. 444

Additional Artwork by Artist

The Cloister of the Augustinian Nuns Hubert Robert late 18th century

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