Robert, Léon-Paul-Joseph



partaker of the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition:

Léopold Robert

Léon-Paul-Joseph Robert


a vanished artist with a common name


The vanished Léopold Robert:
Sources on Impressionism hardly render information on Léopold Robert, who joined the first ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874. Probably he is the same as (Léon-)Paul-Joseph Robert who exhibited at the Salon from 1879-1883. He had some contact with Monet, Pissarro and Renoir. So probably in the first years Robert was loosely connected to the impressionist art-movement. Known is that in all the titles he exhibited, there is no indication of place, time of day, weather or season. So, there are no signs that he painted in an impressionist painting style.
Known is that Léon-Paul Robert was born in 1849 in Bagneux (about 10km south of Paris, see map) and that he was a pupil of Bonnat and Puvis de Chavannes. Maybe he died 1888/09/21 in Alger*.
Further research is hard because several artists in those days also were named ‘Robert’.
Sources: (R87,p253; R2,p508; R3,p692; R9,p626; R88I,p764; iR1)
Note*: At the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris (see iR4) is a tomb ‘de la familles Harmand, Pitou et Robert’, including this inscription: ‘Joseph Léon Paul ROBERT, 39 ans et 5 mois, Alger 21 9bre 1888‘ (see iR6). So this Joseph Léon Paul Robert was born April 1849 and died 1888/09/21 in Alger. This date of birth is the same as our painter and so are all the three first names, so let’s assume our painter is buried in this tomb. Family search on the internet doesn’t provide extra information (iR67).


Léopold Robert only joined the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874:
Léopold Robert only joined the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874, showing at least 3 art-works (catalogue numbers 159+160. No.160 contained of at least two untitled watercolours**. He also showed an oil painting depicting probably young girls lying in the hay and covered with flowers. This could be painted en-plein-air (but this is unsure) and it looks like something in the middle of a figure painting and a landscape.
Robert was not mentioned in the reviews. By then, he was about 25. In the 1874 catalogue there were two addresses mentioned: Barbizon (Seine-et-Marne; see map) and: Paris, 12, Rue Linné (see map).
Walther (R3) calls him a co-founder of the ‘Société des peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs’ leaving it vague if this is the same as the ‘Société Anonyme des Artistes Peintres, Graveurs, Sculpteurs, etc.‘ of which Moffett doesn’t include him as a co-founder (R2,p105). Still, Wildenstein (R22) confirms that Robert accepted the invitation of Monet* to sign in. Rewald (R1) mentions that Robert was present at the liquidation of the ‘Société Anonyme des Artistes Peintres, Graveurs, Sculpteurs, etc.‘ 1874/12/17 in Renoir* his studio.
Camille Pissarro had ruled Robert out from exhibiting again. He wrote* to Léon-Paul Robert (1880/03/14): ‘… it’s very hard for me to defend your interests, having ruled you out since our first exhibition. We want artists who are firmly committed to departing from official art’ (R116I,p166).
Sources: R2,p123; R90I,p8; R90II,p12; R87,p253; R1,p316+366; R9,p626; R16,p371; R88I,p764; R22I,p107; R3,p692.
Note*: it is interesting to know if there is more information to be derived from the correspondence with Monet, Renoir and with Pissarro.
Note**: Walther writes about exhibiting ’two watercolours’ (R3), but it is not indicated that no.159 was a watercolour and than mostly it is an oil painting.

  • 1IE-1874-159, Jeunes filles dans les foins en fleurs.
    (Eng.: Youngs girls in the hay and flowers.)
  • 1IE-1874-160, Cadre, aquarelles.
    (Eng.: picture frame, watercolours)


(Léon-)Paul-Joseph Robert exhibited at the Salon from 1879-1883:
Robert exhibited at the Salon and it’s successor the Salon de la Société des Artistes Français 5 years at a row from 1879-1883*. In the Salon database (iR1) he is mostly called ‘Paul-Joseph Robert’ and in 1879 ‘Léon-Paul-Joseph Robert’. He was born in Bagneux just south of Paris. Robert was a pupil of Bonnat (and of Puvis de Chavannes). All these years he lived at 16, Rue de Navarin, Paris (see map). In 1883 he was about 34 years old.
It is striking that most of the oil paintings he exhibited at the Salon, seem to depict dancing lessons, which gives an association with Degas. Mostly figure painting anyway. This is also the case with the only two works I could find of Robert on the internet↑↑. These two portraits look more formal, yet there is a touch of playfulness. The ‘young woman holding a violin’ gives me an association with Marie Bracquemond and ‘Girl with dog’ with Charles Chaplin.
I received a picture with a dancing / ballet scene↑ (aR5)**. The dancing / ballet scene is a theme that is similar to works exhibited at the Salon by our (Léon-) Paul-Joseph Robert. So, I will render it as a possible painting made by our Robert and as being possibly exhibited at the Salon***.
It is not known if Robert did admit to the Salon earlier and was rejected or that he exhibited elsewhere.
Sources: iR1; R9,p626; R3, p692; R87; R88I,p764; aR5.
Note*: Schurr & Cabanne (R9) mention that he exhibited watercolours, which is not affirmed in the catalogues (iR1).
Note**: At the back with infra red photos one can read the name ‘Louis Joseph Robert’ or something like that; the ‘Louis’ part is the most obscure. When we look at other painters called ‘Robert’↓ there is no one with the first name Louis.
Note***: To be more sure, there should be more study on what paintings were made by the other Robert’s.

  • S1879-2565, La présentation à la supérieure.
    Eng.: The presentation at the superieur.
  • SdAF-1880-3276, L’entrée dans la danse.
    Additional info: 180x150cm. (Eng.: the entry of the dance.)
  • SdAF-1880-3277, Au cloître.
    Additional info: 52x33cm; au salle 26 = non exempts.
    (Eng.: At the cloister. Ned.: De kloostergang / de kruisgang.)
  • SdAF-1881-2025, Portrait de Mlle ***.
    (Eng.: Portrait of misses ***)
  • SdAF-1882-2308, Avant la leçon.
    (Eng.: Before the lesson.)
  • SdAF-1883-2070, A l’école.
    (Eng.: At the school)
  • SdAF-1883-2071, La leçon de danse.
    (Eng.: the dance lesson)


What do sources mention about Léon-Paul-Joseph (Léopold) Robert?
The Getty Institute mentions a ‘Léon Paul Joseph Robert’ born in 1849 and still active in 1883 (iR60). Getty confirms he was born in Bagneux, just south of Paris (iR9). This is also confirmed by the RKD (iR24), referring to the ‘dictionnaire critique…’ of Emmanuel Bénézit (1999=R76). We have already seen this first name ‘Léon-Paul-Joseph’ in the Salon database (iR1; see above). It is striking that the third first name ‘Joseph’ is added to the ‘Léon Paul’ that Moffett and Walther use. It is even more striking that the first name ‘Léopold’ that is used in the catalogue of 1874, doesn’t return anywhere (except in the name of other painters, who are also called Robert↓).

Schurr & Cabanne write that his partaking in 1874 does not mean that the painter adhered to their vision. They call him a genre painter and mention that his painting ‘La Colonne Vendôme renversée’ (musée d’Art et d’histoire in Saint-Denis) is of an impressive Realism (R9). Others also call him a genre painter (R88;R87).

Spiess only mentions him as partaker of the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition, but doesn’t even mention him in the register (R16,p371). Other sources don’t mention Robert at all. An article about vanished French Impressionists can’t give information and calls Robert ’truly vanished’ (aR1=iR35). I hope in the next years there will be more information and works found about Léon-Paul-Joseph (Léopold) Robert.


Other painters with the last name Robert:
La Gazette (1870/04) mentions 9 artists with the last name Robert (R259).
In 1879 there were 8 other artists with the last name ‘Robert’ at the Salon (iR1).
Schurr & Cabanne mention 8 painters with the last name ‘Robert’ (R9,p626/7):
Léopold (1794-1835; often exhibited at the Salon; painted often in Italy),
Aurèle (1805-1871; Swiss, born in Chaux-de-Fond; received in 1831 a 2nd class medal in genre painting; brother of Léopold),
Alphonse (1807-1880ca; landscapist born in Sèvres; received in 1831 a second class medal in landscape painting),
Victor (1813-1888; born in Puy; pupil of Ingres; exhibited in the 1840s at the Salon; received in 1845 a 3rd class medal in history painting and again in 1857),
Léo-Paul (1851-1923; Swiss; son of Aurèle; Symbolist),
Paul (1857-1925; born in Paris; exhibited in 1874 at the Salon; connections with Degas and Raffaëlli; painted in the line of Ingres),
Théophile (1879-1954; son of Léo-Paul).
La Gazette (1870/04) also mentioned:
a Robert living at Clermont-Ferrand;
Alexandre (a Belgian, born in Trazegnies, than living 44, Rue du Commerce in Brussels; pupil of M. Navez; received in 1855 a 3rd class medal in portrait painting);
Annet-Pierre (born in Turenne, living 49, Rue de Lille, Paris; pupil of Alaux);
(born in Chartres, living 14, Rue Durantin, Paris; pupil at the École des Beaux-Arts and of M. Chapon; painter and engraver on wood);
Charlemagne (born in Corbeil (Seine-et-Oise); living at 7, Rue Duperré, Paris; pupil of Picot);
Eugène (born in Paris; living at 16, Rue Bichat, Paris; pupil of M. Lequien) (R259).
Wikipedia (iR3) and WikiData (iR66) only mention a ‘Louis Léopold Robert‘ being a Swiss painter (1794-1835; see R9).
A nephew of him, Léo-Paul Robert (1851-1923/4; see R9) also was a painter (aR2).
At auction sites there is also a Belgian painter mentioned with the name ‘Leopold Robert‘ who was born in 1850 and died in 1935 (iR11; iR16; iR41; compare R9). Works known of him are a self-portrait, harbour scènes in Cannes and a work titled ‘pleading to the virgin Marie’.
Auction sites also mention a ‘Léon Paul Joseph Robert‘ using the same information as the Getty Institute gives (iR12; iR13, iR16; iR41; iR45). Blouin also mentions an oil painting with the title ‘Mediterranean coastal landscape with sailing boats’ (41x51cm) dated 1922, which would mean our Robert was still alive at the age of 73 (iR12); it was auctioned 1990/11/24 in Munich. I think it more likely this work belonged to Léo-Paul (1851-1923) or Paul (1857-1925) as mentioned in Schurr & Cabanne (R9,p626/7).
In May 1884 there was a Léon Robert, a Frenchman, living in Marlotte (Seine-et-Marne), exhibiting at the Groupe des Artistes Indépendants, showing a landscape called ‘Sous-bois’ (iR40).
All this makes it hard and important to discern who is who and what painting belongs to whom.


My main sources are Moffett (1986=R2), Berson (1996=R90), Walther (2013=R3,p692), Schurr & Cabanne (2008=R9,p626), Dayez / Adhémar (1874=R87,p253), Monneret (1878-81=R88I,p764), Rewald (1873=R1,p316+336), Spiess (1992=R16,p371) and the Salon database (iR1). For other general references (=R) see. For other references to internet sites (=iR) see. For other additional references (=aR) see below. See links for practical hints and abbreviations and for the subscription of the paintings.

Additional references (=aR):

  1. vanished French Impressionists (article also about Robert; =iR35)
  2. (gyneacology of family, also painters)
  3. (1888/01/23 Hôtel Drouot sale with 1 work of a ‘Robert’: no.84, Bords de Marne, fusain; =iR40)
  4. (Collection de feu de Ed. L. Jacobson de la Haye with 1 work of a Léopold Robert, no. 66, étude de femme romaine, 35x26cm; =iR19)
  5. pictures rendered to me by others.


Recommanded citation: “Impressionism: Léon-Paul-Joseph (Léopold) Robert, a vanished partaker of the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874, with a common name. Last modified 2024/01/13.”