Landscape with Pond by Lorus Pratt with Albert-Gabriel Rigolot

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Lorus Pratt was one of five Utahns sent by leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to study in Paris in order to complete the grand design of the Salt Lake Temple. In Paris, Pratt studied with the Albert-Gabriel Rigolot (French, 1862 - 1932). Rigolot was a prestigious landscape artists, whose works had won multiple awards at the Paris Salon and various Universal Expositions (a.k.a. World’s Fairs). Today his works are found in the collections of the Musée d’Orsay, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen, Petite Palais, and Musée du Luxembourg, among many others. 

Rigolot was admired by contemporaries for his ability to paint in plein air, working quickly from start to finish out of doors while maintaining the complexity of color, composition, and painterly brushstrokes of an artist that otherwise would have taken weeks to complete in a studio. For Pratt, who had been sent to learn to painting landscapes quickly and in large scale, Rigolot’s mentorship was instrumental.

The painting is signed twice in Pratt’s own hand, once with the name of “A. Rigolot” and then “L. Pratt.” It strongly resembles in composition, subject, and size of a painting by Rigolot, Landscape with pond. The script and execution of the piece suggest the work was done mostly by Pratt. But, given that the painting by Rigolot has remained in a French collections, the most likely scenario is that Rigolot either painted his work alongside Pratt, in order to teach his student the process of making a work; or, Pratt was shown the finished work by Rigolot, who encouraged the younger artist to make a study. In both cases, it was common practice for a teacher to be directly involved in the making of the work, painting on the student’s own canvas to show technique and help develop the work.

Whatever the case, works by Pratt are rare. Of the four surviving Utahan’s sent to Paris (i.e. Herman Haag dies shortly after) Pratt is the least prolific, thereafter dedicating himself to  farming and teaching English at the University of Utah. 

25.25 x 18.25 in. unframed

33.5 x 26.5 in. framed

Oil on canvas