Louis Robbe

Landscape With Barn, Sheep & Goats

Louis Robbe

Landscape With Barn, Sheep & Goats

This exquisite mid to late-19th-century oil painting by Belgian artist Louis Robbe (1806-1887) depicts three finely rendered sheep, a lamb and two goats before a landscape with distant hills. It’s a masterful piece.

Louis Robbe was a distinguished Belgian painter, engraver, and lawyer who is regarded as one of the forerunners of realism in animal painting. Prior to Robbe’s influence, animals were often stylised in a romantic manner, imbued with a sense of drama as part of a broader narrative. As one critic put it, “the horse was tolerated, on the condition that it was painted pawing and prancing”. But Robbe was altogether different, he painted what he saw, studying the creatures first-hand, and avoiding contrivance.

Aelbert Cuyp (1620-1691), the great Dutch master, seems to be an influence and comparisons were often drawn between the two. The rich artistic history of the low countries was never far from his mind.

Early in life, however, it was his father, Dominique Robbe that provided the clearest direction by encouraging him to seek a career in law. As such, the young man undertook legal studies, obtained a doctorate and was subsequently appointed Justice of the Peace in Moorseele, near his home town of Kortrijk. He continued to practise as a lawyer while working simultaneously as an artist - achieving success in both fields. As a man of reason, he utilised his rational mind to allow for greater focus on the subject at hand.

His works were shown at various salons including Ghent, Kortrijk, Bruges, and The Hague. Today, he’s represented in numerous museums such as the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp. In an obituary, a close friend recalled how he was working diligently until the end, exploring the picturesque scenery of Flanders.

“...he wandered in the summer, in search of paintings, his old servant, Amélie, who was always seen following him, gravely carrying the painting box and the artist's chair, handing him his muffler when the wind freshened, and, encamped, knitting in hand, behind him…”

Signed in the lower left and held within a gilt frame, which is possibly original.

Learn more about Louis Robbe in our directory.

Medium: Oil on panel
Overall size: 23½” x 20” / 60cm x 51cm
Year of creation: c. 1870
Provenance: Private collection, England.
Condition: Assessed and approved by our conservator.
Artist’s auction maximum: £10,948.
Our reference: BRV1803

Conservation & History

We care profoundly about our role as custodians and every piece in the collection has been assessed by our conservator. When required, we undertake professional restoration carefully using reversible techniques and adopt a light touch to retain the aged charm of each work. We also restore frames rather than replace them as many are original and selected by the artists themselves.

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