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Musicians and Other Figures in a Park

(Réunion Champêtre)

After:
Pater, Jean-Baptiste (b.1695, d.1736)
previously attributed to Jean-Baptiste Pater (b.1695, d.1736)
Date:
c 1740s
Dated stylistically
Place of production:
Paris?, France
Medium:
oil on canvas
Type of object:
paintings
Accession number:
296

Commentary

This elegant well-dressed party is a smaller version of Jean-Baptiste Pater's 'Fête Champêtre' in the Petit-Palais, Paris. It was probably made soon after Pater's death, when several artists copied his style to meet patron's demands for this type of painting. However, its high quality may indicate it is by the master himself.

The Petit-Palais composition has an added group to the right of a woman with a fan, a small boy, a man in a tricorn hat, and a dog (F. Ingersoll-Smouse, 'Pater', Paris, 1928, no. 41). The distinctive lidded-urn on the left in the Waddesdon painting is also replaced by a stone ball. Pater often re-used figures and poses. He used a similar group of the black servant attending a woman with children in a painting once in the collection of Lord Northumberland (Ingersoll-Smouse, no. 40). The pose of the central gentleman is also similar, though in reverse, to a figure in Pater's 'Concert Champêtre' (New York, Metropolitan Museum, 37.27) of c. 1734, and in his 'Fête champêtre', (Norton Simon Museum, F.1985.3.P).

The seated woman turning to one side to talk to a gentleman is a common feature in Pater's paintings. It allowed him to show off the beautiful silks of the loose gown styled in the contemporary fashion known as a 'robe à la française' while also adding human interest to the scene through the figures' flirtatious conversation. The woman's dress is similar in style to that worn by the central figure in Pater's 'A Gallant Conversation' of c. 1728-30 (Wallace Collection, P458). The men are dressed in whimsical costumes of the Spanish-style (à l'espagnole) and of a historical style known as Henry IV. The careful rendition of the silk's shadows and highlights is particularly well painted.

Pater came from Valenciennes, as did his famous teacher Antoine Watteau. Watteau was a difficult person, and Pater was dismissed from his studio early on. However in 1721, when Watteau was dying, he taught Pater again, apparently because of remorse for his previous behaviour. Pater made many small-scale paintings of genteel country parties, a genre that Watteau had practically invented. Pater gained great success, and his works entered the collections of Frederick the Great of Prussia and Louis XV of France. After his death many artists sought to copy his style; 18th-century sale catalogues often describe paintings 'in the manner of Watteau or Pater'. The size and appearance of the piece matches the description of a work sold in 1874.

Phillippa Plock, 2011

Physical description

Dimensions (mm):
478 x 590
Signature & date:
not signed or dated
Inscriptions:
4
Inscription
[on verso of stretcher, upper centre, pencil]

Lobby Left No. [......?]
Pheasant Passage
Inscription
[on verso of stretcher, centre centre, pencil]

Right [of?] Window
Inscription
[on lower stretcher member]
Labels:
J B Pater 1695-1736
Label
[gilded plaque on frame, lower centre]

W2/46/3 V
PATER'S LADY IN A GREY
& PINK DRESS WITH MUSICIANS & VARIOUS OTHER
FIGURES IN A PARK.
Label
[on verso of frame, upper left, handwritten label in ballpoint pen]

J CHENUE
FRENCH PACKER
Lady in grey
[Musicians?] in Park
10, GREAT ST. ANDREW STREET
SHAFTSBURY AVENUE
LONDON, W.C.
Printed label
[on verso, upper centre, printed oval label, with handwritten inscription.]

93
Mura. England
Label
[printed and handwritten circular label at left (back) end of upper
stretcher member]

W2/46/3
Label
[oval label on vertical stretcher cross-member, inscribed with ball point pen]

History

Provenance:
Possibly sold in sale of Marquis de Saint-Cloud, 12-13 February 1874, lot 34, for 4,700 FF; acquired by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild (b.1839, d.1898); by descent to his sister Alice de Rothschild (b.1847, d.1922); by descent to her great-nephew James de Rothschild (b.1878, d.1957)
Collection:
Waddesdon (National Trust)
Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957

Bibliography

Bibliography

Florence Ingersoll-Smouse; Pater: biographie et catalogue critiques; Paris; Les Beaux Arts; 1928; p. 48, no. 127; possibly this painting, size and description matches, with provenance of Marquis de Saint-Cloud

Indexed terms