L'Escalier des Lavandieres (Stairway of the Washerwomen)

Hubert Robert (French, 1733–1808)


60.0 x 41.9 cm (23 5/8 x 16 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oil on paper mounted on canvas

Not On View





Robert spent eleven years in Italy, where he first developed the compositional device of a large, light-filled arched structure surrounded by a complex of interconnected buildings. He reemployed the motif in this late work, adapting it to his native Paris. The paper support, relatively fluid brushwork, and attention to fleeting light effects suggest that this painting may have been executed en plein air (outdoors), a manner of working increasingly favored by artists in the period.


Lower right, on wall: H. R O B E R T / 1796


1885, possibly Jules Burat; April 28-29, 1885, possibly Burat sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, lot 85 [see note 1]. Robert Bonnel, Paris [see note 2]. 1930, Wildenstein and Co., New York; February 14, 1930, sold by Wildenstein to Forsyth Wickes (b. 1876 - d. 1964), New York and Newport, RI; 1965, bequest of Forsyth Wickes to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 8, 1969)

[1] "Les Laveuses," measuring 58 x 40 cm. [2] According to information provided by Wildenstein to Forsyth Wickes at the time of his purchase (February 14, 1930).

Credit Line

Bequest of Forsyth Wickes—The Forsyth Wickes Collection