Claude Le Lorrain Gelee, French, 1600-1682. This painting is an exquisite example of Lorrain genius. It is oil on canvas 31" by 24" (79cm by 61cm), signed lower right. Provenance: It is likely painted in Rome, and exhibited throughout Europe. Documented to be from the collection of Robert Batke, circa 1888 in Germany. Acquisition by Batke, in Berlin, numerous generations back. Passed on to his son Richard Batke, it was inherited by Richards widow, the present Cecilia M Freed, with other Batke holdings.
Claude Gellee, who was called Lorrain after his native province of Lorraine, was born in 1600 at Chamagne, France, near Nancy. He settled in Rome perhaps as early as 1613. He spent nearly all his adult life there. When a young man, he worked in the household of Agostino Tassi, the landscape and marine painter, in some menial function, either as a pastry cook or a general factotum. We know that he was in Rome at the time and continued to live there, working with Poussin and Salvator Rosa. His early work was chiefly in fresco, of which little remains, but his fame is based on landscape canvases, often with biblical or mythological subjects. Patronized principally by the Italian nobility, he also enjoyed an international reputation. Together with Poussin he is responsible for the classical revival in French landscape painting of the seventeenth century. Among the many later painters influenced by his work was Turner. He died in 1682.