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Jean-Baptiste Robie - Still life with roses and a bowl of raspberries

Jean-Baptiste Robie

Still life with roses and a bowl of raspberries

Oil on panel: 17.8 x 13.6 (in) / 45.1 x 34.6 (cm)
Signed lower right: J Robie

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Brussels 1821- 1910 Saint-Gilles

Ref: BY 182


Still life with roses and a bowl of raspberries


Signed lower right: J Robie

Oil on panel: 17 ¾ x 13 5/8 in / 45.1 x 34.6 cm

Frame size: 25 x 20 ½ in / 63.5 x 52.1 cm




Private collection, Belgium;

by descent



Jean-Baptiste Robie painted in the great tradition of Netherlandish flowerpieces. He was particularly fond of depicting roses, painted in a high key with velvety brushwork. This bouquet is placed in a nineteenth century maiolica vase with a gryphon motif, emulating Renaissance maiolica. Robie brilliantly evokes the light playing over the highly-glazed, complex surface. The vase appears in other Robie still lifes, such as the Still life with roses and a glass tazza (private collection). Behind the bouquet sits a blue and white Chinese porcelain or Delft bowl, overflowing with raspberries, fruits often depicted by Robie for their jewel-like colour and soft complexity. The elements of the still life, the rich colour palette and the roses tumbling gracefully over the edge of the table top, recall seventeenth century painters such as Jan Davidsz. de Heem (1606-1684) and Rachel Ruysch (1664-1750).


Jean-Baptiste Robie was a painter of still lifes, landscapes, seascapes and Oriental scenes. The son of a blacksmith, he was initially self-taught. He has been described as the master of the cult of the rose. E De Taye describes his works as being painted with a ‘solid…virtuosity of facture, connected to a sound research of picturesque and rich composition’. In his early years, Robie was said to have earned money by painting portraits of Napoleon for British tourists.


From 1839 Robie, with the encouragement of his friend, the landscapist Théodore Fourmois (1814-1871), studied at the Académie Royale des Beaux-arts in Brussels with Balthazar-François Tasson (1811-1890). Robie visited Italy, Spain, France and Germany. He also travelled extensively in the Near East, Egypt, Syria and Palestine. His most lengthy sojourn abroad was in India from 1880-81. He described these travels and his apprenticeship in Les Débuts d’un Peintre, published in 1886.


Robie exhibited at the Brussels Salon from 1843 to 1875. He won a gold medal at the Brussels Salon in 1848 and a third-class medal in 1850. He also participated in the 1880 Palais des Beaux-Arts exhibition in honour of the fiftieth anniversary of the unification of Belgium into a nation state. Robie exhibited at Ghent in 1853 and in Antwerp in 1861 and 1863. He made a reputation in France, exhibiting at the Paris Salon in 1863 and the Paris World’s Fair in 1885. Robie was repeatedly honoured by the Belgian nation. He was made a Knight of the Order of Léopold in 1861, progressing to Officer in 1869 and Commander in 1881. He was also a Knight of the Légion d’Honneur.


The work of Jean-Baptiste Robie is represented in the Musée Royale des Beaux-Arts, Brussels; the Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent; the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.



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