Hubert François Gravelot

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Hubert François Gravelot
The Fire at the Opera II
ca. 1767
Pen and black ink over graphite, on paper.
5 1/2 x 3 1/16 inches (139 x 79 mm)
Gift of John F. Fleming.

Gravelot's design is preparatory for an engraved frontispiece illustration to Maille Dussaussoy's "Le Citoyen désinteresse, ou, Diverses idées patriotiques" (Paris : Gueffier, 1767-1768). Two allegorical female figures representing Prudence and the City of Paris are shown in front of the burning opera house. The figure of Paris is seated in an attitude of despair as Prudence gestures towards a pump and barrel. The inspiration for the design was evidently the destruction by fire of the great hall of the Paris Opera on April 6, 1763. Gravelot's design was engraved and published, with the addition of text, noting the subject as "L'Incendie de L'Opera", and commenting on the the allegorical scene: "L'Administration de la Police, Sous la Figure de la Prudence, Console le Ville de Paris, en lui montrant les secours qu'elle fait préparer." See also 1963.13:9.

Marie-Joseph-Colombe-Henri-Denis Beccaria de Pavie, Marquis de Fourquevaux (1762-1841), Fourquevaux, France; Emmanuel Bocher (1835-1919), Paris; Léon Olry-Roederer (1869-1932), Paris; A.S.W. Rosenbach (1876-1952), Philadelphia; John Fleming (1910-1987), New York.
Associated names: 

Fourquevaux, Joseph de Beccarie de Pavie, marquis de, 1762-1841, former owner.
Bocher, Emmanuel, 1835-1919, former owner.
Olry-Roederer, Léon, 1869-1932, former owner.
Rosenbach, A. S. W. (Abraham Simon Wolf), 1876-1952, former owner.
Fleming, John F. (John Francis), 1910-1987, former owner.


Kraemer, Ruth S. "Drawings by Gravelot in the Morgan Library." Master drawings, XX (Spring 1982), p. 11, no. 27.