The Ponte Salario
oil on canvas
91.3 x 121 cm (35 15/16 x 47 5/8 in)
Jean Frédéric Perregaux [1744-1808], Paris and Viry-Châtillon;  by inheritance to his daughter, the maréchale duchesse de Raguse [1779-1855, née Anne Marie Hortense Perregaux], Paris and Viry-Châtillon;  (her estate sale, Hôtel des Commissaires-Priseurs, Paris, 14-15 December 1857, no. 42); Madame Louis Stern, Paris, by 1911; (sale, Galerie George Petit, Paris, 22 April 1929, no. 19); (Wildenstein & Co., Inc., New York); sold 23 December 1946 to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York; gift 1952 to NGA.  According to the preface of the catalogue of his daughter's estate sale in 1857, the late 18th century French school paintings in the sale had been acquired by Perregaux from the artists themselves. A Swiss-born banker who had married a French woman and was the first regent of the Banque de France, the collector owned major works by Boilly, Greuze, Vernet, and Vigée Le Brun, among others. The NGA painting was included in the postmortem inventory of Perregaux's collection, drawn up on 25 February 1808 by the commissaire-priseur Jean Baptiste Théodore Sensier; it was one of several decorating the salon of Perregaux's townhouse at 9, rue du Mont Blanc and was valued at 120 francs: "Item, un autre [paysage] par Robert représentant un pont cadre de bois doré Prisé cent vingt frances, ci.....120" (Archives nationales de France, Paris: Étude X, liasse 882).  She was the widow of one of Napoleon's marshals, Auguste Frédéric Louis Viesse de Marmont (1774-1852). Her father left her a considerable fortune, part ownership of his bank, and part of his art collection. The 17th century Dutch paintings in the collection were bequeathed to her brother, Alphonse Claude Charles Bernardin Perregaux (1785-1841). For the lives of Perregaux and his daughter, see Paul de Pury, "Jean-Frédéric Perregaux," Musée Neuchâtelois n.s. 6 (1919): 7-12; Jean Lhomer, Le banquier Perregaux et sa fille, la duchesse de Raguse, Paris, 1926; Romuald Szramkiewicz, Les Régents et censeurs de la Banque de France nommés sous le Consultat et l'Empire, Geneva, 1974: 311-318; Geoffrey De Bellaigue, "Jean Frédéric Perregaux, the Englishman's Best Friend," Antologia di Belle Arti 29-30 (1986): 80-90.