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Louis-Hippolyte Lebas

(1782–1867, Paris)

La fontaine. Lithograph. 17.2 x 26 cm. 1819. Inventaire du Fonds Français 2.

The architect, Louis Hippolyte Lebas, taught at the École des Beaux Arts from 1819 and became a member of the Institut de France in 1825. He designed the church of Notre-Dame de Lorette, which is regarded as his principal work, as well as many other buildings in Paris. He also provided designs for the manufactories in Jouy and Sèvres and produced a few lithographs. The present rare print, which may well have been based on a study made during a journey Lebas undertook to Italy in 1804, shows a pine and other trees, in front of which stands a fountain basin with a water-spewing lion’s head framed by richly decorated masonry, the carefully rendered ornamentation of which indicates the architect’s main interest. The shimmering afternoon sun, the splashing fountain and the lush Mediterranean vegetation give the study the quality of an atmospheric snapshot. A very fine, fresh impression, with the deckle edge on three sides, a small edge missing in the white margin at the bottom right, minor ageing, otherwise in impeccable condition.

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