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Title Fête Champêtre
Collection Victoria and Albert Museum
Artist follower ofWatteau, Jean-Antoine (French painter and draftsman, 1684–1721)
Date Earliest about 1700
Date Latest about 1750
Description This painting was probably made by a follower of the French painter Antoine Watteau in the eighteenth century. It follows Watteau's famous formula of the 'fête galantes', a genre that he created in the 1710s and which was exploited by many followers after his early death in 1721. These depict elegant figures in a wooded landscape, which adds a sense of mystery to their pleasurable activities. Watteau had many followers in France and in England in the first half of the eighteenth century. He was born in Valenciennes and trained there by Jacques-Albert Gérin (c. 1640-1702) or the sculptor Antoine-Joseph Pater (1670-1747), the father of Watteau's only pupil, Jean-Baptiste Pater (1695-1736). Watteau then reached Paris, probably around 1702 and may have met Claude Gillot (1673-1722) two or three years later and collaborated with him some years.
Museum Number DYCE.47
Subject landscape; figure; everyday life
Measurements 12.7 × 20.3 cm
Material oil on panel (softwood {deal})
Acquisition Details Bequeathed by Rev. Alexander Dyce 1869.
Publications C.M. Kauffmann, Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, I. Before 1800, London, 1973, p. 298, cat. no. 373.
Notes The poor condition of the work, whose surface has darkened under the effect of the varnish, make its attribution difficult to assert. However it seems to imitate some of Watteau's scenes, which also look quite dark and convey a sense of mystery. The painting was doubtless made by a close follower who probably drew on such paintings as The Perspective in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, which display a similar arrangement of figures bathed in shade with shimmering dresses and, characteristically, a standing lady seen from the back, which is a recurrent Watteau's formula. Watteau enjoyed a great success during his life and his works continued to be sought-after by collectors after his death, especially in England. Philippe Mercier, a Huguenot painter working in London from ca. 1716 to 1736, borrowed elements of his style while his art also influenced some artists such as William Hogarth (1697-1764).
Rights Owner © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Author Ana Debenedetti



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