X. Fête champêtre
Entered July 2018
Oil on canvas
70 x 80.5 cm
Newark, New Jersey (USA), collection of Maria Jeritza Seery (1887-1982; Czech-born opera singer). Her and others’ sale, New York, Sotheby Parke Bernet, June 1, 1981, cat. 221: “SCHOOL OF JEAN ANTOINE WATTEAU . . . FÊTE CHAMPÊTRE / Oil on canvas 27½ x 33¾ inches / 70 x 85.5 cm”.
Madame Seery, owner as well of a second putative Watteau picture, A Couple Making Music (actually a copy after Boucher), may have thought this picture was by Watteau. Although Sotheby’s listed it as “School of Watteau,” they would have been better advised if they had classified it as “School of Pater.” In the totality of its composition and in its individual components—the dancers at center, the seated man at right with his legs splayed apart, the seated woman behind him, the man grasping the woman, the fragment of a portico at the left—the painting has many parallels with Pater’s established oeuvre. Unfortunately the photograph in the 1981 sale catalogue is too small and fuzzy to hazard an opinion as to whether the Seery picture is by Pater himself, his shop, or one of his many imitators.