L’Amante inquiète
Entered August 2014; revised May 2017

fig 1

Chantilly, Musée Condé, inv. PE 372.

Oil on panel

24 x 17.5 cm



Femme penchée

Une Jeune bergère

Ragazza con rose




fig 2
Jean Moyreau after Watteau, L'Amante inquiete, engraving, c. 1729.


The painting was engraved in reverse by Pierre Aveline. The print was announced for sale in the April 1729 issue of the Mercure de France (p. 752): “Deux autres pendans à figure seule, dont l’un est intitulé l’Amante inquiete; Et l’autre la Rêveuse, toutes les deux gravées par P. Aveline en hauteur.”



Paris, collection of the abbé Pierre Maurice Haranger (or Harenger) (d. 1735; canon of St. Germain l’Auxerrois). Haranger was a good friend of Watteau’s and the artist bequeathed to him a portion of his drawings. Although Haranger’s ownership was not noted on Aveline’s engraving, it was cited by Mariette in his "Notes manuscrites,"10: fol. 191: “dans le cabinet de M. labbe Aranger.” Although the abbé Haranger’s inventory was discovered by Baticle at the time of the Watteau tercentenary, the listing for L’Amante inquiète has proven elusive due to the vagueness of the inventory as a whole and the distressing fact that it does not include artists’ names. Some think that L’Amante inquiète may correspond to no. 33: “Femme penchée, dans sa bordure de bois sculpté, doré . . . prisé 20 livres.” However, that painting is listed as being on “toile” while our painting is on panel. This might be just an oversight.

Paris, collection of Antoine Claude Chariot (1733-1815, commissaire-priseur du Châtelet). His sale, Paris, January 28ff, 1788, lot 44: “A. WATTEAU . . . Le Donneur de sérénade, & l’Amante inquiette; deux études savants & remplies d’art, offrant deux Tableaux du meilleur tems de ce grand coloriste. Hauteur 9 pouces, largeur 7 pouces. B.” The pair sold for 221 livres according to an annotated copy of the sale catalogue in the Bibliothèque d'art et d'archéologie, Paris. Here for the first time, L'Amante inquiète was specifically linked with Le Donneur de sérénade.

Paris, with Jean-Baptiste Pierre Lebrun (1748-1813, painter and art dealer). His sale, Paris, November 11, 1791, lot 201: “PAR LE MÊME. [ANTOINE WATTEAU] . . . Deux Tableaux faisant pendans: l’un représente le donneur de serenade; et l’autre, l’amante inquiète; deux etudes savantes et remplies d’art: ils sont du meilleur temps de ce grand coloriste. ¾ Hauteur, 9 pouces; largeur, 7 pouces. B. Ils viennent de la vente de M. Chariots, no. 44: vendus 221 liv.* Ils sont gravés.” According to an annotated copy of the catalogue in the Frick Art Reference Library, the two pictures were bought back by Lebrun for 132 livres.

Paris, anonymous sale, February 13ff, 1792, lot 25: “PAR LE MÊME [ANT. WATTEAU] . . .  Deux tableaux très-fins de couleur & de la touche la plus spirituelle; l’un représente une jeune Bergère  assise dans un paysage, & tenant des roses dans son tablier, l’autre un Homme vêtu à l’Espagnole, accordant une guitarre. Haut. 9 p. larg. 7. B.” According to an annotated copy of the catalogue in the Frick Art Reference Library, the two pictures sold for 120 livres.

Collection of the marquis de Maison; sold in 1868 to Henri d’Orléans, duc d’Aumale.

Chantilly, collection of the duc d’Aumale (1822-1897); given with the rest of his collection to the Institut de France in 1886.



Hédouin, “Watteau” (1845), cat. 48.

Hédouin, Mosaïque (1856), cat. 49.

Goncourt, Catalogue raisonné (1875), cat. 81.

Gruyer, Notice des peintures (1899), 346, 349.

Zimmerman, Watteau (1912), 16.

Dacier, Vuaflart, and Hérold, Jean de Jullienne et les graveurs (1921-29), 3: cat. 165.

Réau, “Watteau” (1928), cat. 95.

Adhémar, Watteau (1950), cat. 127.

Mathey, Watteau, peintures réapparues (1959), 68.

Macchia and Montagni, L’opera completa di Watteau (1968), cat. 211.

Ferré, Watteau (1972), 3: cat. B34.

Roland Michel, Watteau (1981), cat. 225.

Posner, Watteau (1984), 123.

Roland Michel, Watteau (1984), 55, 156.

Baticle, "La Chanoine Haranger" (1985), 62.

Garnier-Pelle, Chantilly, Musée Condé, peintures (1995), cat. 113.

Rosenberg and Prat, Watteau, Catalogue raisonné des dessins (1996),  1: cat. 162.

Temperini, Watteau (2002), cat. 10.

Glorieux, Watteau (2011), 165, 169.




fig 3
Watteau, Studies of a Seated Woman, red chalk, 16 x 17 cm. Whereabouts unknown.


The single figure in L’Amante inquiète was taken from a sheet with two studies of a seated woman (Rosenberg and Prat 162). He chose the study at the left, but modified the details slightly in the painting, making her chin more pointed and adding some roses to the fold of drapery in her lap.


In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the picture was dated by the museum as 1717-20. Zimmerman thought that it was painted about the same time as the Embarquement, i.e., 1717. Rosenberg and Prat date the drawing used for L’Amante inquiète to 1712. They assign the same date to a sheet in the Nelson-Atkins Museum (Rosenberg and Prat 161) that has two studies drawn from the same model and is essentially the same scale. Watteau used the second sheet for his painting, Les Agrémens de l’été, yet that painting seems less skillful and thus earlier in date than L’Amante inquiète. Presumably, then, the artist turned back to this sheet after several years had passed. Mathey had proposed a date of 1715 for the painting. Adhémar preferred 1716, a date to which she assigned some fifty paintings by Watteau. Roland Michel would date the painting to c. 1716-18.


amante inquiete bw
Watteau, L'Amante inquiète, oil on panel, 24 x 17.5 cm. Chantilly, Musée Condé.
donneur de ser
Watteau, Le Donneur de sérénade, oil on panel, 24 x 17.5 cm. Chantilly, Musée Condé.


The issue of whether L’Amante inquiète originally had a pendant is problematic due to the lack of information about it in the early eighteenth century. When it was engraved for Julienne’s Oeuvre gravé it was paired with La Reveuse, a painting of comparable dimensions and also showing a single seated figure of a woman. Critics, with the notable exception of Glorieux, do not believe that the two paintings were actual pendants.

When L’Amante inquiète appeared in the Chariot sale in 1788, it was paired with Le Donneur de sérénade, a painting with a single male figure, of exactly the same dimensions, and also on panel. These supposedly faux pendants had been created by Chariot or a still earlier owner of the painting. Modern critics have constructed the early history of Le Donneur de sérénade by associating it with a small panel painting of a guitarist (without a pendant) that was sold from Marin Delahaye’s collection in 1754, from a 1765 sale arranged by Lebrun, and finally from the 1778 sale of the collection owned by Jullienne’s widow. Then, in theory, someone cleverly managed to pair it with L’Amante inquiète. This person was able to find a second picture with a single male figure on a panel of just the right size. Normally, such a theory would stretch one’s credulity too far, but this may be what happened. The two paintings are not well matched visually. While the subjects are well suited to each other, the angles of their bodies are not harmonious and the degrees of finish in the background landscapes differ too considerably.

On the other hand, it has been overlooked that Haranger owned a painting that despite its vague listing could be Le Donneur de sérénade: “no 23 Un petit tableau peint sur bois représentant un joueur de guitare dans sa bordure de bois sculpté, doré. prisé . . . 30 liv.” The lack of artist’s name and measurements is awkward but no more so than the listing for L’Amante inquiète. Unlike the presumed listing for L’Amante inquiète, the proper support is designated. Could the paintings have originally been together in Haranger’s collection, then gone their separate ways, and been reunited by the time of the Chariot sale? Ironically, this would take us back to the viewpoint expressed prior to 1900 by Gruyer who, unmindful of the paintings' separate provenances, presumed they had always been together since they were in Haranger's collection.

For copies of L'Amante inquiète CLICK HERE