Une Femme jouant de la guitarre

Entered September 2018; revised December 2018

fig 1

Whereabouts unknown

Oil on panel

33 x 25.4 cm



Paris, collection of Jacques Gaultier (or Gautier) (d. 1759; Sécretaire du Roi). His sale, April 6ff, 1759, lot 171: “Une Femme jouant de la Guitarre; bois, de treize pouces de haut sur dix de large, par Wateau.” It sold for 12 livres.



Meslay, "Reynolds et l'influence de Rigaud" (2006), 82-86.




Watteau, Donneur de sérénade, oil on panel, 24 x 17.5 cm. Chantilly, Musée Condé.
Watteau, La Finette, oil on panel, 25.3 x 18.9 cm. Paris, Musée du Louvre.


One wonders what this lost painting looked like. Was it just the one figure, perhaps in a wooded setting, like some Watteau paintings with men playing the guitar (Le Mezetin in the Metropolitan Museum and the Donneur de sérénade in Chantilly), and like the woman with a theorbo (La Finette in the Louvre)? Given the relatively early date of the sale, the frequent appearance in Watteau’s oeuvre of small panels with such solo musicians, and the considerable price paid for this small work, the attribution of the painting to Watteau is more believable than not.

Jacques Gaultier was an important patron of the arts. In 1752, he sat for a portrait by Hyacinthe Rigaud, and he owned several other paintings by Watteau, including Le Départ pour les Îles.