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L’Enchanteur (copy 1)
Entered August 2021; revised September 2021


alte copy 1

Brodick Castle, Isle of Arran (National Trust for Scotland)

Oil on copper

19 x 26 cm

 

ALTERNATIVE TITLES 

Garden Scene

Garden Scene with Figures in Conversation

Un Homme pinçant de la guitare près de deux dames

Réunion des cavaliers et dames

 

RELATED PRINTS

Abreuvoir Engraving

Member of the Moitte family after a Watteau imitator, L’Enchanteur, lithograph, from Les Monuments de dessin . . . recueillés par le Baron Vivant Denon (Paris:1829).

 

An as-yet unidentified member of the Moitte dynasty of print makers executed a lithograph after the painting in Baron Denon’s collection. It was included in Les Monuments de dessin . . . recueillés par le Baron Vivant Denon (Paris 1829), 4: pl. 300. It has been customary to identify the artist as Jean Guillaume Moitte (1746–1810) but that cannot be correct. He died at least a year before Denon even bought this painting, and died almost two decades before the print was published. The artist was more likely a younger member of the Moitte family, perhaps one of Jean Guillaume’s sons. 

 

PROVENANCE

Paris, collection of Charles François Silvestre (1667-1738; painter). By descent to his grandson, Jacques Augustin de Silvestre.

Paris, collection of Jacques Augustin de Silvestre (1719-1809). His sale, Paris, February 28ff, 1811, lot 79: “WATTEAU (Antoine) . . . Deux Tableaux, Dans l'un, une jeune Dame debout écoute un cavalier qui pince de la guitare; un homme habillé en pierrot et une jeune fille sont assis près de lui. Dans l'autre, un Homme pinçant de la guitare près de deux dames assises et d'un homme habillé en mezzetin. Des bosquets terminent les fonds de ces compositions. / H.6.p.10l., L.9p.6l. C / Un dessin fin et correct, une couleur vigourese et transparent, et une touche spirituelle, sont les qualités qu'on admire dans ces deux ouvrages de Watteau.” According to an annotated copy of the catalogue in the National Gallery, London, it was bought for 440 francs by a “Mr. L.” The Getty Provenance Index identifies the buyer as Lavallée fils. 

Paris, collection of Baron Denon Dominique Vivant (1747-1825; Directeur général des musées impériaux). His sale, Paris, May 1-9, 1826, lot 188: “Deux tableaux d’un pinceau trés fin. Ils représentent des réunions de cavaliers et de dames dans des jardins; ils sont en habits de carnaval. Dans l’un, deux jeunes dames viennent de quitter leur domino, elles se sont assises près des corbeilles de fleurs; un des cavaliers joue de la guitare. Dans l’autre, une jeune femme, déguisée en bergère galante, est debout près de trois personnes aussi en habits de caractère et groupées dans la demi-teinte; une d’elles joue de la guitare. Des ifs, des jets d’eau, des allées d’arbres et des bosquets, donnent l’idée des jardins les plus agréables et accompagnent parfaitement les figures. L’un est lithographié. / L. 10 pouces. — H. 7 pouces. C.” The two pictures were purchased by Gregorio Franchi for 3,015 francs. 

Paris, collection of Simon Jacques Rochard (1788-1892; miniature painter), about 1830.

Bath, collection of William Thomas Beckford (1760-1844). His ownership is attested to by an 1844 inventory: “Inventory and Valuation . . .  of Nos 10 and 20 Lansdown Crescent Bath,” Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Beckford c. 58, p. 12: “A Pair – Garden Scenes with Figures in Conversation” by “Watteau.” His sale, Bath, July 24ff, 1848 (third day), lot 33: “Watteau / A Pair – Garden Scenes, with Conversation and Musical Parties. Two precious and valuable Specimens of the Master, richly coloured, and very highly finished. Copper, 7 ½ inches by 10 ¼ inches.” The pictures were apparently bought in or withdrawn. 

Easton Park, collection of William Beckford, Duke of Hamilton. They are cited in “List of Pictures, Furniture, Ornaments, China & c. sent from Bath to Easton Park,” 1848-1849, Easton Park (Suffolk), NRAS 332/M/12/50, 2: “Sent to Easton Novr 1849 / A Pair – Garden Scenes / Watteau.” Also cited in “A True and Perfect Inventory and Appraisement of All and Singular the Household Furniture, Plate, Linen, China, Books, Prints, Pictures, . . .  the Personal Effects of The Most Noble His Grace The Duke of Hamilton K.G. at the Mansion at Easton  . . . who died on the 18th day of August 1852. Taken and made on the 13th and following days of September,” Easton Park (Suffolk), NRAS 332/M/12/52, 2: 17-18: “Garden Scene / Watteau.”

Collection of Susan Euphemia Beckford, Duchess of Hamilton (d. 1859; wife of Alexander, 10th Duke of Hamilton).  By descent to her grandson William, 12th Duke of Hamilton (d. 1895). Under the terms of a trust fixed in 1893, the paintings passed to his daughter, Mary Louise Douglas-Hamilton, later Duchess of Montrose.

 

EXHIBITIONS

London, Royal Academy, Landscape in French Art (1949), cat. 84 (Attributed to  Watteau, The Enchanter, lent by the Trustees of the twelfth Duke of Hamilton). 

Manchester, Art Treasures Centenary (1957), cat. 172 (by Watteau, The Enchanter, lent by The Duke of Hamilton’s Trust: Arran and Easton Trustees).

Washington, Paris, Berlin, Watteau 1684-1721 (1984), cat. 19 (by Watteau, The Enchanter (L’Enchanteur), lent by Brodick Castle, National Trust for Scotland). 

Aix, La Passion selon Don Juan (1991), cat. 122 (by Watteau, L’Enchanteur, lent by Brodick Castle, Ile d’Aran, National Trust for Scotland).

New York, Metropolitan Museum, Watteau, Music, and Theater (2009), cat. 5 (by Watteau, The Enchanter (l’Enchanteur), lent by Brodick Castle, National Trust for Scotland).

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Amaury-Duval, Monuments des arts du dessin (1829), 4: n.p.

Goncourt, Watteau (1875), cat. 109.

Dacier, Vuaflart, and Hérold, Jean de Jullienne et les graveurs (1921-29), 1: 182, 199, 3: under cat. 11.

Réau, "Watteau" (1928), under cat. 102.

Adhémar, Watteau (1950), 146 n. 8, under cat. 124.

Watson, “Watteau, peintre inconnu” (1962), 126.

Rosenberg and Prat, Watteau, catalogue raisonné des dessins (1996), cat. 415, 484, 609.

Temperini, Watteau (2002), cat. 27.

Brussels, Palais des beaux-arts, Watteau, Leçon de musique (2013), under cat. 39.

 

REMARKS

Disliking the overpainted versions of this composition and its pendant in Troyes, Edmond de Goncourt gave pride of place to the pictures that had been in the Baron Denon sale in 1826 and which he knew only from the description in the sale catalogue. His preference remained singular until after World War II. The 1949 exhibition at the Royal Academy presented the pair of paintings from Brodick Castle as originals from Watteau’s hand but with the cautionary phrase “attributed to,” and at the same time the exhibition presented their counterparts from Troyes. The acceptance of both sets was repeated in the 1984 Watteau exhibition, the 1991 exhibition in Aix, as well as in Temperini’s monograph. However, most critics have focused only on the paintings in Troyes; in effect, their silence regarding the Brodick Castle paintings implies a rejection of them.

Baron Denon’s paintings are almost identical in size to the ones in Troyes and are painted on copper, again like the Troyes pictures. Although the figures and landscapes are similar, there are some telling differences. For example, the ground under the guitarist is an extremely shallow shelf, and beyond this, with no transition, there is a broad expanse of water. The trees at the left are fairly generic and insubstantial, unlike the grove and distinctive umbrella pines found in the Troyes painting.

Those who would uphold the authenticity of the Brodick Castle Enchanteur claim that it is a slightly later revision by Watteau. But whereas Watteau usually improved second versions of a composition, here there is no improvement. Moreover, there are anomalies. The narrow shelf of foreground space, the abrupt transition to a distant body of water, and the expansive flat body of water are unparalleled in Watteau’s oeuvre. 

 

 

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L’Enchanteur (copy 2)
Entered August 2021


alte copy 1

Somerset, England, with Susan Harvard

Oil on canvas

38 x 47.5 cm

 

ALTERNATIVE TITLES

The Troubador

 

PROVENANCE

Hollingbourne, Hollingbourne Manor, Kent, collection of James Henry Deakin (formerly Dykins), from c. 1905-1935.

Hollingbourne, Hollingbourne Manor, Kent, collection of Susannah Grace, Lady Croft-Pearson and Sir Edward Pearson. The painting came to them as part of the house’s contents in 1935. Passed by descent to their daughter-in-law, Pandora (Mrs. Samuel) Croft-Pearson. She sold the painting in 1969 to Michael Harvard.

London, with Michael Harvard (1906-2003; art dealer). Passed by descent to his widow, Susan.

 

REMARKS

Almost nothing is known about this painting’s history in the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries. An inscription on a stretcher reads, “The Troubadur,” and a label on the back is from T. Rowlands, 75 Oxford Road, Manchester; he was a framer and restorer of paintings. Scholars were unaware of the picture and, in fact, it was merely considered as part of the furnishings of Hollingbourne Manor, a historic Elizabethan manor house. The situation changed once it was bought in the 1960s by the London-based dealer Michael Harvard, and was made available to specialists. It was shown to Sir Francis Watson, then the director of the Wallace Collection, who believed that he saw evidence of Watteau in some passages; he readily accepted the guitarist and the second male figure, but questioned the “solididity” of the two women. Supposedly Denys Sutton and Theodore Crombie had similar opinions.

Such opinions notwithstanding, the Harvard painting seems at a substantial remove from Watteau’s autograph works—in the delineation of the faces, especially the dull expression of the woman in white, the fabrics, and the undifferentiated trees in the foreground and in the distance. The dense mass of shrubbery without any sense of tree limbs and branches, and the small passage of sky in the upper right-hand corner are evidence against an attribution to Watteau. The unbroken expanse of the lake beyond has no counterpart in Watteau’s oeuvre; the sea in the Pèlerinage à l’isle de Cythère, for example, has a far more complex blending of water and reflections of sky.

The painting is on a rectangular canvas and was displayed in a rectangular frame. In the upper and lower left corners are leaves, as though there once was some sort of leafy decorative setting. Recently the canvas was set into a painted arabesque enframement with a gold ground. Although a pleasant combination, the arabesque is unrelated. This arabesque enframement and a pendant arabesque came from a sale in New York (Sotheby’s, May 21, 1998, lot 132); one had at its center another copy of L’Enchanteur (our copy 3) and the second had a Watteauesque composition. These arabesques were bought by London-based dealer Michael Rich, who subsequently negotiated an arrangement with Mrs. Harvard whereby her painting was inserted in one of his arabesques. The arabesques seem to be eighteenth-century in origin, but this does not impart greater authenticity to the Harvard painting. Nor can it be believed that these elements were originally together in the eighteenth century as was being claimed. Subsequently, this marriage was undone and the Harvard painting has been set in a Louis XV-style frame.

The Harvard picture is evidently a copy of Watteau’s composition, but is not based on the Troyes painting or the Audran engraving. Rather, it is based on the painting in Brodick Castle, something to which even the painting’s owner agrees. The shelf-like arrangement of the foreground, the absence of the umbrella pine trees, and the expanse of the distant lake are indications of the painting’s reliance on the Brodick composition. If one does not accept the authenticity of the Brodick version, then it is impossible to ascribe the Harvard version to Watteau.

 

 

 

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L’Enchanteur (copy 3)
Entered August 2021

alte copy 1

London, with Michael Rich

Oil on canvas

80.7 x 141 cm (including arabesque surround)

 

PROVENANCE

New York, Sotheby’s, May 21, 1998, lot 132: “French School, circa 1800 / FÊTES GALANTES SURROUNDED BY GROTESQUE DESIGNS: A PAIR OF PAINTINGS / both oil and gilt on shaped canvas / each: 31¾ by 55½in. 80.7 by 141 cm. $30,000 – 40,000.” Although not listed on the company’s Auction Results, they were both bought by Michael Rich.

London, with Michael Rich (art dealer).

 

REMARKS

Abreuvoir Engraving

French school, 18th century, A Decorative Painting, 80.7 x 141 cm. London, with Michael Rich.

Abreuvoir Engraving

French school, 18th century, A Decorative Painting, 80.7 x 141 cm. London, with Michael Rich.

 

This copy after L’Enchanteur and a second fête galante, both central scenes in decorative rococo arabesques, appeared at auction in New York, Sotheby’s, May 21, 1998, lot 132, and were bought by the London dealer Michael Rich. The second scene resembles the work of the generation of Lancret and Pater.

The arabesque with the copy of L’Enchanteur was taken apart, and its medallion was removed and put aside by Rich. It was replaced by Susan Harvard’s copy of L’Enchanteur (our copy 2) but that arrangement has since been undone.

The copy of L’Enchanteur in the Sotheby’s sale, like the Harvard copy, was based on the Brodick Castle version—as seen in the expansive lake, the tambourine at the woman’s side, etc. It may even have been based on the Harvard version.


 

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L’Enchanteur (copy 4)

Entered August 2021


Accord parfait copy 2

 

Whereabouts unknown

Oil on canvas, mounted on panel

67 x 116 cm (including the arabesque surround)

 

           
ALTERNATIVE TITLES

Concert champêtre

 

PROVENANCE

Lille, sale, Mercier et Cie, October 11, 2020, lot 325: “Ecole Française du XIXe, suiveur de LANCRET et de WATTEAU /  Concert champêtre / Paire de toiles chantournées marouflées sur panneau / Hauteur 67 cm / Largeur 116 cm / Restaurations anciennes / 2 000 /3 000€." The paintings were bought in.

Lille, sale, Mercier & Cie, July 4, 2021, lot 325: “Ecole Française du XIXè, suiveur de LANCRET et de WATTEAU / Concert champêtre / Paire de toiles chantournées marouflées sur panneau /  Hauteur: 67 cm / Largeur 116 cm : Restaurations anciennes / 2 000 / 3 000 €.”


REMARKS

Abreuvoir Engraving

Unidentified artist, Decorative Arabesque, oil on canvas, 67 x 116 cm. Whereabouts unknown.

Abreuvoir Engraving

Unidentified artist, Decorative Arabesque, oil on canvas, 67 x 116 cm. Whereabouts unknown.

 

In terms of format, this pair of decorative, chantourné paintings are strikingly similar to those sold at Sotheby’s on May 21, 1998 (our copy 3). The silhouettes, the vocabulary of shell fountains, birds, and other decorative motifs are closely related, but the Lille paintings are slightly smaller.

Fundamental to our discussion, one of the central medallions in the Lille pictures contains a copy of Watteau’s L’Enchanteur. It too is based on the Brodick Castle version, but it is markedly inferior in its execution to the one owned by Rich. The scene in the other medallion looks as though it is a pastiche after Lancret.

The Lille paintings are puzzling. One could easily imagine that they and the two paintings sold in New York are all part of a larger series. But why would one series contain two copies of L’Enchanteur?


 

 

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L’Enchanteur (copy 5)

Entered August 2021; revised September 2021


Accord parfait copy 3


Whereabouts unknown

Oil on canvas

21 x 27 cm

 

PROVENANCE

Paris, sale, Hôtel Drouot (Olivier Cotau-Begarie), June 13, 1997, lot 14: “ECOLE FRANÇAISE DU XVIIIème, d’après WATTEAU. ‘L’enchanteur’. Huile sur toile. 21 x 27 cm. Cadre en bois sculpté et doré de style LOUIS XV. 6/8.000.”

 

REMARKS

This picture is not based on Watteau’s painting in Troyes or the Audran engraving. Rather, it too is based on the Brodick Castle copy. The disposition of the trees, the river in the background, and the tambourine in the lower right corner are all distinguishing features. Also it is close in size to the Brodick Castle painting (which measures 19 x 26 cm).

 

 

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L’Enchanteur (copy 6)

Entered August 2021


Accord parfait copy 4

 

Whereabouts unknown

Oil on panel

29 x 22.9 cm

 

           
ALTERNATIVE TITLES

The Galant Musician

 

PROVENANCE

New Orleans, Kurt E. Schon Ltd. Gallery; consigned to Bonhams.

Los Angeles, Bonhams, sale, November 18-19, 2019, lot 102: “PROPERTY FROM KURT E. SCHON EAI, LTD, OF NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA . . . CHRISTIAN WILHELM ERNST DIETRICH . . .  The galant musician / oil on panel / 11 3/8 x 9in (29 x 22.9cm) $3,000 – 5,000.” The painting was bought in.

 

REMARKS

The attribution of this painting to Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich (1712-74), a German follower of Watteau, is a mechanism of the market to bestow an artist’s name on an otherwise anonymous copy. The placement of the woman at the left and the guitarist at the right establishes the fact that the copyist was working from Audran’s engraving. The bold color contrasts, shocking and unpleasant, seem foreign to eighteenth-century art, and suggest a later date. The hard facial expressions and the metallic quality of the drapery support a German origin.

 

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L’Enchanteur (copy 7)

Entered August 2021


Accord parfait copy 2

 

Whereabouts unknown

Oil on panel

40 x 56 cm

 

           
ALTERNATIVE TITLES

Lautenspieler vor zwei auf einer Bank sitzenden Damen

Musiciens dans un parc

 

PROVENANCE

Berlin, sale, Leo Spik, March 25-26, 1965, lot 276: “WATTEAU, ANTOINE . . . Kreis des / Lautenspieler vor zwei auf einer Bank sitzenden Damen in Parklandschaft. Im Hintergrund Gebäudegruppe und Gebirge. Öl a. Lwd. H. 48 cm, Br. 56 cm. G.R.  (3000,—). Tafel 23.” 

Berlin, sale, Leo Spik, December 10, 2015, lot 261: “Watteau, Antoine . . . NACHFOLGER (18. Jh.) L’Enchanteur. Lautenmusiker mit zwei Damen im Freien. Seitenverkerhte Wiederholung nach dem Gemälde von Watteau in Troyes. Lwd. (doub./rep. Loch). 6x49 cn. R. (55515) (900,—)."  

 

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

Ferré, Watteau (1972), cat. P 32.

 

REMARKS

This copy after Watteau’s L’Enchanteur was evidently based upon Audran’s print, as is shown by the reversal of the composition and the inclusion of the umbrella pine trees. The copyist’s inferior ability is painfully evident in the disproportionate figure of the guitarist and the women’s homely faces.


 

 

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L’Enchanteur (copy 8)

Entered August 2021


Accord parfait copy 2


Whereabouts unknown

Medium unknown

Measurements unknown

 

ALTERNATIVE TITLES

A Cavalier Playing the Guitar to Two Ladies

 

PROVENANCE

London, sale, Christie and Manson, April 2, 1852, lot 31: “Watteau . . . A cavalier, playing the guitar to two ladies seated in a garden.”

 

REMARKS

The collection sold in 1852 was said to be that of “an amateur” and that it had been “formed during a Residence on the Continent.” It included not only this copy of L’Enchanteur but also one after L’Avanturière, which was offered in the following lot: “A music party, in the gardens of a château” (L'Aventurière, copy 16).

Were these paintings ones that we know today? They cannot be those in Brodick Castle (copy 1) because they were already with the Beckford family before 1852.

 

 

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L’Enchanteur (copy 9)

Entered August 2021


Accord parfait copy 2

 

Whereabouts unknown

Medium unknown

Measurements unknown

 

PROVENANCE

London, sale, Foster, March 4, 1914, lot 211: “WATTEAU . . . L’Enchanteur.”

 

REMARKS

Without a fuller description or photograph, there is no way of identifying this painting.

 

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L’Enchanteur (copy 10)

Entered August 2021


Accord parfait copy 3


Whereabouts unknown

Oil on canvas

27 x 33 cm

 

ALTERNATIVE TITLES

Lautenspieler und Damen im Park

 

PROVENANCE

Lübeck, sale, Lübecker Kunst-Auktions-Haus, May 6-7, 1913, lot 236: “WATTEAU, ANTOINE. Lautenspieler und Damen im Park. Ölgemälde auf Leinwand. Grösse 27 x 33 cm. Siehe Abbildung Tafel IV.”

 

REMARKS

The paintings in the 1913 auction were from the collections of Dr. Lenz, the museum director; Captain Ob . . . ; and others, but the ownership of this specific painting was not designated. The picture is based on Audran’s engraving, but, as best we can tell from the very small illustration, it did not include the other male comedian and omitted much of Watteau’s landscape.

 

 

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L’Enchanteur (copy 11)

Entered August 2021


Accord parfait copy 3

Whereabouts unknown

Oil on canvas

35 x 26 cm

 

ALTERNATIVE TITLES

Le Guitariste

Le Troubador

 

PROVENANCE

Antwerp, collection of Flor Burton (d. 1926). His sale, Antwerp, Cercle royal artistique, March 14, 1927, lot 5: “A. Watteau (attribué à) / LE TROUBADOR / Dans un cadre de verdure un jeune homme en pourpoint blanc, bas de soie, le tricorne emplumé, tient sa guitare, s’apprêtant à donner un sérénade. Cadre en bois sculpté. Toile. 35 x 26 (Voir reproduction).” Sold for 1,050 Belgian francs.

 

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

Ferré, Watteau (1972), 3: cat. P 31.

 

REMARKS

The copyist responsible for this painting followed Audran’s engraving after Watteau’s composition, but he excerpted just the guitarist and not the three other characters. To his credit, the copyist included one of the chief elements of Watteau’s landscape, the umbrella pines.

 


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