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L’Amour au théâtre italien (copy 1)

Entered December 2014

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Whereabouts unknown

Oil on canvas

43 x 54 cm

 

ALTERNATIVE TITLES

Une Mascarade

 

PROVENANCE

Paris, collection of . . . Martin (painter, member of the Royal Academy). His sale, Paris, February 1-3, 1776 [rescheduled to February 5f], lot 81: “Antoine Watteau…Un paysage très savant, son effet est au clair de lune; on voit à gauche six personnages en habit de bal, dont un tient un flambeau; plus loin d’autres figures. Ce tableau est peint sur une toile de 16 pouces de haut, sur 20 pouces de large.”  Sold for 398 livres to Pierre Remy according to the annotated copy of the catalog in the Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie. The name of the collector varies from one account to another. The sale catalogue in the Rijksbureau, probably the most reliable, is inscribed with the name “Martin” and his profession. Lugt (no. 2483) gives the name as “de Mortain,” while Rosenberg in 1984 referred to him as “Morrin.”

Paris, collection of Jean-Baptiste Laurence Boyer de Fonscolombe (1719-1788, pastellist). His sale, Paris, January 18ff, 1790, lot 74: “GILLOT . . . Une Mascarade, dans l’intérieur d’un bois, vue au clair de lune. Six principaux personages se distinguent à la lumiere d’un flambeau. Une belle couleur & une touché spirituelle distinguent cette production. Hauteur 16 pouces & demi, largeur 20 pouces. T.” Sold for 20 livres to François André according to an annotated copy of the catalogue in the Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie.

 

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

Goncourt, Catalogue raisonné (1875), under cat. 69.

Dacier, Vuaflart, and Hérold, Jean de Jullienne et les graveurs (1921-29), under cat. 271.

Macchia and Montagni, L’opera completa di Watteau (1968), under cat. 188.

Washington, Paris, Berlin, Watteau 1684-1721 (1984), under cat. P65.

 

REMARKS

Since the original Watteau painting has been in the German royal collection since the mid-eighteenth century, the one owned by Martin has to have been a copy. There is nothing to guarantee that the paintings sold in 1776 and 1790 refer to the same painting but this association seems likely. They were essentially the same size and both were described not only as being nocturnes, but also as having six principal characters, a distinctive notion for pictures portraying a dozen actors. In the fourteen years between the two sales, there was a notable change in the way the two were seen. While earlier the painting was attributed to Watteau, the second time around it was given to Gillot—a notable drop in esteem—and the selling price dropped from almost 400 livres to just 20 livres.


 

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L’Amour au théâtre italien (copy 2)

Entered December 2014

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Whereabouts unknown

Materials unknown

Dimensions unknown

 

PROVENANCE

Bruges, Gabriel Loze collection

 

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

Lejeune, Guide théorique et practique (18…), 3: 323.

Adhémar, Watteau (1950), under cat. 204.

Macchia and Montagni, L’opera completa di Watteau (1968), under cat. 188.

 

REMARKS

According to Lejeune, this copy of L’Amour au theater italien was by Watteau du Lille but that is by no means a secure attribution. Adhémar wondered if the Loze painting might not have been the one in the 1850 sale of the Wilson collection, probably because she was unaware of any other copies of this Watteau composition.

 

 

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L’Amour au théâtre italien (copy 3)

Entered December 2014

Copy 3

Nottingham, University of Nottingham

Oil on canvas

38 x 38 cm.

 

PROVENANCE

Unrecorded donation


 

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L’Amour au théâtre italien (copy 4)

Entered December 2014

copy 4

Whereabouts unknown

Oil on canvas

40 x 60 cm

 

ALTERNATIVE TITLES

Les Masques italiennes

 

PROVENANCE

Pesaro, collection of Luigi Battistelli (head of a Florentine auction house); his sale, Milan, Palazzo Cova, March 23-26, 1914, lot 236:  “A. Watteau . . . Les masques italiennes, esquisse du grand tableau, peint sur toile, cadre doré; m. 0.40x0.60 (PLANCHE IX).”

 

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

Washington, Paris, and Berlin, Watteau 1684-1721 (1984), under cat. P65.

 

REMARKS
           
Despite the claim that this picture was a preparatory sketch for the version in Berlin, a ploy often used to explain copies, Watteau did not make full painted sketches and, more importantly, this work suffers from being of poor quality. It has no apparent relationship with Watteau’s style.


 

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L’Amour au théâtre italien (copy 5)

Entered December 2014

copy 5

Whereabouts unknown

Oil on canvas

59.3 x 73.5

 

PROVENANCE

Paris, Hôtel Drouot-Richelieu (Rossini), December 12, 2005, lot 121: “WATTEAU Antoine (D’après) . . .  L’Amour au théâtre italien / Huile sur toile / Copie du XIXe siècle de la composition (1718) conservé au musée de Berlin. haut. 59 – larg.: 73cm  1 500/2 000 € / (Voir la reproduction)” Sold for €1,700.

London, Sotheby’s Olympia, April 25, 2006, lot 414: “AFTER JEAN ANTOINE WATTEAU / ACTORS OF THE ITALIAN COMMEDIA DELL’ARTE / oil on canvas / 59.3 by 73.5 cm.; 23 3/8 by 29 in. / A later copy after Watteau’s original in the Staatliche Museen, Berlin (see G. Macchia, L’Opera Completa di Watteau, Milan, 1968, p. 118, cat. no. 188, reproduced).  £2,000-3,000 / €2,950-4,450).” Sold for £2,640 ($4,703).

 

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

Paris, Washington, Berlin, Watteau 1684-1721 (1984), under cat. 65.

 

REMARKS

Whether the painting’s origin is nineteenth century as was claimed in 2005, or was executed still more recently, it does not appear to be from the eighteenth century. It is of extremely poor quality. Rosenberg, judging from a photograph, described it as a “mediocre copy.” It imitates the whole of Watteau’s composition save that it omits the actor with the lantern at the far left.


 

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L’Amour au théâtre italien (copy 6)

Entered December 2014

 

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Whereabouts unknown

Materials unknown
 
20 x 23 cm

 

PROVENANCE

Sale, pre-1950, Wilson collection, cat. 750.

 

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

Adhémar, Watteau (1950), under. cat. 204.

Paris, Petit Palais, Chefs-d'œuvre des musées de Berlin (1951), under cat. 58.

           
REMARKS

It has not been possible to trace this painting. Nothing is known about it save for a vague reference by Adhémar in 1950.

 


 

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L’Amour au théâtre italien (copy 7)

Entered December 2014

 

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Whereabouts unknown

Oil on canvas

82 x 122 cm

 

PROVENANCE

According to Ferré in 1977, this painting was sold at an otherwise unidentified pre-1947 auction in Belgium of works owned by “inciviques” (wartime collaborators?).

 

EXHIBITIONS

Paris, Musée de la Monnaie, Pélerinage à Watteau (1977), cat. 305.

 

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

Paris, Washington, Berlin, Watteau 1684-1721 (1984), under cat. 65.

 

REMARKS

Given its Belgian provenance, one might wonder if this is the same painting as copy 2 listed above. It was not illustrated in the 1977 catalogue and it has not been possible to trace it further. In 1984, Rosenberg described the painting as a “pastiche absolu.” However, this specific phrase was applied in the 1977 catalogue to another painting (cat. 306), a pastiche employing elements from L’Amour au théâtre français and Le Plaisir pastoral.

 

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L’Amour au théâtre italien (copy 8)

Entered December 2014

copy 8

Nancy, Musée des beaux-arts de Nancy, inv. 721 (MJ 86-951)

Oil on canvas

29.5 x 22.5 cm

 

ALTERNATIVE TITLES

Personnages de la comédie italienne

 

PROVENANCE

Nancy(?),  collecion of Victor Poirel; by descent to his widow who donated it to the museum in October 1884.

 

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

Nancy, Musée, Catalogue descriptif (1909), cat. 56.

Bouleau, Inventaire des tableaux (1991), cat. 103.
           

REMARKS

This picture is a reduced copy of just four of the characters left of center in Watteau’s picture. The plaque on the frame is marked “FURINACCIO. XVIIIe Siècle” which tells us how the painting passed in the nineteenth century, namely as a work by this relatively obscure Italian painter known for portrayals of the commedia dell’arte.