At a Well under Trees
  • Pierre-Louis de La Rive
  • Geneva 1753 - 1817 near Geneva
  • At a Well under Trees, 1797
  • Brush in sepia over pencil, with brown wash,
    on beige paper
  • dated and numbered on the lower right: 1797. No 7
    (corrected, previously 6)
  • 477 × 378 mm
Private collection, Switzerland

Pierre-Louis de La Rive-Godefroy descended from an old Huguenot family of Geneva. It was there that he began his artistic training, which was initially limited to copies after old masters. The director of the academy in Dresden, Giovanni B. Casanova, was the first to convince him to paint from nature. In Rome, La Rive became a student of J. P. Saint-Ours, whose mode of classical landscape he successfully adopted for quite some time. He made a specialty of large-format sepia watercolours, mostly with Swiss subject matter and always with cows or goats as staffage.

La Rive achieved such a level of mastery in this technique that he often had to make drawn copies of his own paintings for selected clients. One can observe his repetition of individual themes on this quite characteristic sheet as well. The well shown here recurs in a sepia drawing from 1801 (Fig.1), this time with a view of Lake Lauerz.