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Les Charmes de la vie (copy 1)
Entered November 2017

Fig 1

Whereabouts unknown

Oil on copper

17.5 x 23 cm

 

ALTERNATIVE TITLES

Le Repos des musiciens

La Leçon de musique

 

PROVENANCE

Paris, collection of M. Miallet. His sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, June 9-10, 1902, lot 33: “PATER (Attribué à J.–B.) (DEUX PENDANTS) . . . Le Repos des Musiciens. . . . Cuivres. Haut., 18 cent.; larg., 23 cent.”

Paris, collection of Madame Brasseur de Lille. Her sale, Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, June 1, 1928, lot 15: “ÉCOLE FRANÇAISE / XVIIIe siècle. DEUX PENDANTS . . . La Leçon de musique. . . . Peintures sur cuivre. Haut., 17 cent. 1/2; larg., 23 cent.” Vente Miallet, 1902. Voir les reproductions.”

 

REMARKS

fig 13
Unidentified artist after Watteau, Les Charmes de la vie.
fig 14

Unidentified artist after Watteau, L’Occupation sélon age, whereabouts unknown.

 

Both this painting and its ill-matched pendant are only copies after the engravings in Jean de Jullienne’s Oeuvre gravé. The one after Les Charmes de la vie is only a partial copy, keeping the figures from just one side and omitting the theorbo player and the black servant, as well as most of the architecture and landscape. The pendant copies Charles Dupuis’ engraving after L’Occupation sélon age.

 

 

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Les Charmes de la vie (copy 2)
Entered November 2017

copy 4

Whereabouts unknown

Medium unknown

Measurements unknown


ALTERNATIVE TITLES

Réunion d’une société de gens de qualité

 

PROVENANCE

Sale, Paris, Hôtel des ventes mobilières (Ridel), March 4, 1852, anonymous collection, lot 100: “DU MÊME [WATTEAU] (signé). Réunion d’une société de gens de qualité dans un parc; sur le devant un nègre vient chercher des bouteilles qui sont dans un vase.“

 

REMARKS

It is tempting to link this picture with the one that reputedly came to auction in Paris almost two decades later (our copy 3).



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Les Charmes de la vie (copy 3)
Entered November 2017; revised September 2018

copy 4

Whereabouts unknown

Medium unknown

Measurements unknown


ALTERNATIVE TITLES

Réunion sur la terrace

 

PROVENANCE

Sale, Paris, 1869, collection Biron: “Réunion sur la terrace, un nègre occupé à nettoyer des bouteilles dans un basquet.“ Although cited and quoted by Adhémar, no such sale catalogue was recorded by Frits Lugt in his Répertoire des catalogues de vente.

 

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

Adhémar, Watteau (1950), under cat. 158.

Macchia and Montagni, L’opera complete di Watteau (1968), under cat. 184.

 

REMARKS

From the description of the painting, which we know only secondhand, the Biron picture would seem to correspond to Les Charmes de la vie. It is tempting to link this picture with the one that came to auction in Paris almost two decades earlier (our copy 2).

fig 2

Detail of photograph of Paul Helleu standing next to the fête galante that he attributed to Watteau.

 

The picture’s fate after 1869 is unknown. Adhémar, followed by Macchia and Montagni, would identify this painting with one later owned by the painter and admirer of Watteau, Paul César Helleu (1859-1927), and then by John Singer Sargent (1856-1925). However, Helleu’s painting, which we know from a poor photograph, showed figures in a park, not on a terrace, and presented a very different composition.

 



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Les Charmes de la vie (copy 4)
Entered November 2017

Fig 1

Whereabouts unknown

Oil on canvas

83 x 65 cm

 

ALTERNATIVE TITLES

Personnages sous une voûte

 

PROVENANCE

Saint-Cloud, Guillaume Le Floc'h, February 8, 2015, lot 9: “École française du XIXe siècle. Personnages sous une voûte. Huile sur toile. Haut.: 83 cm – Larg.: 65 cm. Cadre en chêne sculpté et doré du XVIIIe siècle. 3000/4000 €.” The picture was bought in.

 

REMARKS

The principal figures in this picture repeat those in Les Charmes de la vie, except that the theorbo player at the center has been omitted. They are the reverse of the Wallace Collection painting, indicating that the copyist followed the Aveline engraving. Also, the setting has been changed to a monumentally scaled, coffered vault set on paired columns—architecture that dwarfs the figures. The large scale of the canvas suggests that the picture was made for interior decoration, but whether it was executed in the nineteenth century as was claimed when the picture came up for auction in 2015, or whether it was painted still more recently, is a matter of conjecture.

 

 



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Les Charmes de la vie (copy 5)
Entered September 2018

Fig 5

Whereabouts unknown

Oil on panel

94 x 109.2 cm

 

ALTERNATIVE TITLES

A Musical Soiree with Elegant Figures

 

PROVENANCE

Haslemere, Surrey, sale, John Nicholson, October 3, 2018, lot 352: “Manner of Jean Antoine Watteau . . . A Musical Soiree, with Elegant Figures on a Terrace, Oil on Panel, Signed with Initials 'AG', Shaped in an Over Mantle, 37" x 43", external 52.25" x 56".”

 

REMARKS

This copy after Watteau’s Les Charmes de le vie is unusual in that is signed “A.G.,” but whether this monogrammist worked in the nineteenth or twentierth century matters little. The direction of the composition is in accord with the original painting, as are the colors of the costumes. (It is perhaps not coincidental that both Watteau’s painting and this overmantel are in England.) On the other hand, the copyist has simplified Watteau’s design at the right side by eliminating the black servant, the dog, and a column; also he changed the gesture of the leftmost figure and added large trees to the background.

 

 

For Les Charmes de la vie, CLICK HERE