Jean-Pierre-Laurent Hoüel

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Jean-Pierre-Laurent Hoüel
Rocky Landscape
Point of brush and gouache on paper.
15 3/16 x 20 1/2 inches (386 x 520 mm)
Purchased on the Sunny Crawford von Bülow Fund 1978.

Watermark: fragment of a coat of arms, with a letter T on a globe (see Heawood 2394).
Hoüel was a proficient engraver and landscape painter, now best known for the engravings he made after a series of drawings by Boucher. It was, however, the series of landscapes he painted for the duc de Choiseul's château at Chanteloup that brought him the most attention and earned him sufficient recognition to receive lodgings, if not a pensionnaire's place, at the French Academy in Rome. Mariette recounts in his "Abecedario" that Hoüel encountered a group of Englishmen in Rome with whom he traveled to Naples, and then on to Sicily, and it was this journey “which served to improve his style, which is pleasant and which renders the effects of nature quite perfectly.” After making two trips to Italy (1776-79), Hoüel returned to France with numerous watercolors and gouaches.
The present drawing is Italianate in character but the scene is not sufficiently specific to be identifiable, and was likely inspired by Italy rather than based on a real view. Hoüel's subject matter and treatment of the sky in this work is typical of his compositions from the late 1780s.

Acquired from Galerie Cailleux, Paris.

Denison, Cara D. French Master Drawings in the Pierpont Morgan Library. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1993, no. 80, repr.
Denison, Cara D., with Stephanie Wiles and Ruth S. Kraemer. Fantasy and Reality : Drawings from the Sunny Crawford von Bülow Collection. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1995, no. 17, repr. in color.