Le Contrat de mariage (copy 1)
Entered June 2019; revised August 2019
Oil on canvas
50.8 x 64.8 cm
Paris, collection of Louis Hourticq (1875-1944; art historian).
Feirschoff or Fischkopf collection.
New York, collection of H. Young, c. 1923.
Cleveland, Ohio, c. 2012.
Adhémar, Watteau (1950), under cat. 130
This copy of the Prado painting is known through several photographs, including one in the Frick Art Reference Library and another in the Witt Library. The painting’s provenance from Hourticq and Feirschoff or Fischkopf is recorded on the back of the photograph now in the files of the Frick Art Reference Library. The reference to H. Young is typed on the mount of the photo in the Witt Library. Adhémar misidentified the latter photo as showing a copy after the Sir John Soane’s Museum version of L’Accordée de village.
When this painting came up for auction in Cleveland in the spring of 2012, it was wrongly presented as a Watteau oil study for L’Accordée de village, the composition now in London. Actually it is related to the artist’s Le Contrat de mariage. Moreover, it is not Watteau’s preliminary study for that painting as was claimed. Rather it is by an unknown copyist, working from the painting in the Prado. The poor quality of execution should warn us against any association with Watteau’s hand. Watteau never made such preliminary oil sketches. The copyist went so far as to replicate the fleur de lys insignia of the royal collection in the lower right corner.
Affixed to the reverse side are two spurious red wax seals, each supposedly with the insignia of Louis XIV. They were offered as proof that the painting had been in the French royal collection, a claim wholly without merit, especially since Louis XIV is not known to have owned any paintings by Watteau.
Le Contrat de mariage (copy 2)
Entered August 2019
Oil on canvas
52 x 65 cm
Paris, Piasa, January 26, 2009, lot 79: “École FRANCAISE du XIXe siècle, dans le goût d’Antoine WATTEAU . . . Le Contrat de Mariage / Toile / 52 x 65 cm / Po rte une acienne attribution à Pierre-Antoine Quillard. 1 200 / 1 500 € Notre tableau s’inspire d’une composition d'Antoine Watteau conservée au musée du Prado à Madrid.” The painting sold for € 1,487.
This painting is a straight-forward copy of Watteau's painting in the Prado.
Click here for Le Contrat de mariage