Gallery installation view featuring six paintings in thick gilded gold frames. Each painting is accompanied by an iPad. The center painting is nearly life-size and bracketed on either side by the words Created and Collected.

Bryan Conley / CMOA

Three Stories About the Painting Landscape with a Natural Arch

Landscape with a Natural Arch is one of seven paintings the Carnegie Museum of Art acquired that were once part of the important Northbrook Collection. The following stories trace part of this painting’s journey from artist’s studio to the walls of CMOA.

Landscape painting depicting a natural rock formation with shepherd and dog in foreground. Another man is shading himself under a tree nearby.
Gaspard Dughet (French, 1615–1675), Landscape with a Natural Arch, ca. 1670–1673. Oil on canvas. 18 x 24 1/2 in. (45.7 x 62.23 cm). Bequest of Howard A. Noble.
This animation details changes in ownership of the artwork over time. Three key events are highlighted in the animation and described in the following text. An interactive version of this data visualization was presented as part of the Created, Collected, and Conserved exhibition.

A Moment in History: Rome, ca. 1670

Current Owner
Gaspard Dughet
Current Location
Rome, Italy
Miles Traveled
0 miles
Number of Owners

Classical landscape, which presented an idealized form of nature, was a product of the 17th century. It strove for balance, simplicity, and harmonious presentation of elements of nature to achieve an ideal pastoral beauty rather than an exact representation of a specific place. The form was developed to a high degree by Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain, French artists working mainly in Rome, a multi-national artistic center at the time.

Roman-born Gaspard Dughet, the son of a French cook and his Italian wife, painted Landscape with a Natural Arch late in his career. Dughet was a student of Nicolas Poussin, who was also his brother-in-law. Because of this, Gaspard Dughet was often called Gaspard Poussin. Dughet’s landscapes are usually more animated versions of Poussin’s classical images. Dughet, along with Poussin and Lorrain, became particularly popular with 18th century British collectors and influential models for British landscape painters.

A Moment in History: London, 1849

Current Owner
Thomas Baring, M.P.
Current Location
London, England
Miles Traveled
891 miles
Number of Owners

Landscape with a Natural Arch is first documented as being in England at the beginning of the 19th century, but it was not until 1849 that it was purchased by Thomas Baring, M. P. It was one of several works by Dughet in his collection. German art historian Gustav Waagen, who saw the painting in Mr. Baring’s London residence, wrote about it in his account published in 1854, “A picture of great charm both in point of poetic composition and transparent colouring.”

Shortly before his death, Mr. Baring lent Landscape with a Natural Arch to the 1872 annual exhibition at the Royal Academy in London. As with the other art in Mr. Baring’s collection, this painting was bequeathed to his nephew Thomas George Baring, subsequently 1st Earl of Northbrook. It remained in the Northbrook Collection until sold at auction in 1938.

A Moment in History: Pittsburgh, 1939

Current Owner
Howard A. Noble
Current Location
Pittsburgh, USA
Miles Traveled
4606 miles
Number of Owners

Christie’s, the British auction house founded by James Christie in 1766, is one of the world’s oldest in continuous operation. It has played an important role in the history of Landscape with a Natural Arch, having auctioned it five times between 1811 and 1938. In fact, its first documented appearance in England was at the sale of the collection of one William Harris at Christie’s in February 1811. The last was in February 1938, when it was sold from the Northbrook Collection.

By November 1939, this painting was owned by Pittsburgh collector Howard A. Noble and hung along the stairway of his Shady Avenue residence. It made its first public appearance in Pittsburgh in 1944, when it was exhibited at CMOA along with other works from the Noble collection. It joined the museum’s permanent collection in 1966 from Mr. Noble’s estate.

Digital Wall Labels

Select another painting for more details and to see the animated timeline:

  1. Painting Pieter Cornelisz. van der Morsch, by Frans Hals
  2. Vision of Saint Ildephonsus, by Andrien Ysenbrandt
  3. Hero, Ursula, and Beatrice in Leonato’s Garden, by Reverend Matthew William Peters
  4. Shepherd Boy with Recorder, by Unknown Northern Italian
  5. Landscape with a Natural Arch, by Gaspard Dughet
  6. Portrait of a Young Man, by Deminico Puligo
  7. Ann Franks Day (Lady Ann Fenoulhet), by Sir Joshua Reynolds