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X. L’Entretien dans le parc

Entered February 2015

 

Fig 1 

Whereabouts unknown

Oil on panel

56.3 x 42.5 cm

 

ALTERNATIVE TITLES

A Pair of Lovers Resting beneath a Tree

Bergère et Arlequin

 

PROVENANCE

Paris, collection of comte Jacques de Bryas. His sale, Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, April 4-6, 1898, lot 174: WATTEAU (ANTOINE) . . . L’Entretien dans le parc. Une bergère coiffée d’un chapeau de paille, vêtue d’un corsage rose décolleté, lacé sur la poitrine, et d’une jupe de soie verte en partie couverte d’un tablier blanc, est assise à l’ombre d’un grand arbre, le haut du corps dans une demi-teinte vaporeuse. Elle écoute les propos d’un jeune homme debout auprès d’elle, portant un costume de la comédie italienne. Vigoureuse peinture d’un coloris chaud et lumineux. Bois. Haut, 54 cent.; larg., 40 cent. Cadre en bois sculpté.” According to annotated copies of the catalogue in the Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Dokumentatie, the picture for 18,200 francs to Henri-Julius Stettiner (1842-c. 1913, Paris art dealer). 

Paris, Hôtel Drouot, collection X, April 3, 1911, lot 46: “WATTEAU (ANTOINE) . . . L’Entretien dans le Parc. Une bergère coiffée d’un chapeau de paille, vêtue d’un corsage rose décolleté, lacé sur la poitrine, et d’une jupe de soie verte en partie couverte d’un tablier blanc, est assise à l’ombre d’un grand arbre, le haut du corps dans une demi-teinte vaporeuse. Elle écoute les propos d’un jeune homme debout auprès d’elle, portant un costume de la comédie italienne. Panneau. Haut., 54 cent.; larg., 40 cent. Cadre en bois sculpté. (Collection J. de Bryas, no 174, avril 1898.)” According to Adhémar, it was sold for 14,500 francs to Bange.

Paris, Claudon collection. His sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, June 23, 1926, lot 51: “WATTEAU (JEAN-ANTOINE) . . . L’Entretien dans le parc. Coiffée d’un chapeau de paille, vêtue de un corsage rose décolleté, lacé sur la poitrine et d’une jupe de soie verte en partie couverte d’un tablier blanc, une jeune bergère est assise près d’un arbre. Elle prête l’oreille aux propos galants qui lui murmure nn [sic for “un”] jeune homme debout à son droite, portant un costume de la Comédie italienne. Panneau. Haut., 56 cent.; larg. 42 cent. Cadre Louis XV en bois sculpté. Collection J. de Bryas. Vente à Paris, le 4 avril 1898. Reproduit et catalogué sous le no 174. (Voir la Reproduction.)” According to a pricelist in the copy of the sale catalogue in the Metropolitan Museum library, the painting sold to Paul and Marcel Jonas (related to the Paris dealer Edouard Jonas, perhaps acting as agents for Wildenstein) for 13,000 francs. According to Adhémar, it sold for 18,200 francs.

Paris and New York, Galerie Wildenstein. According to the firm’s records, it was acquired in 1926.

London, Sotheby’s, July 5, 1995, lot 95: Nicolas Lancret . . . A PAIR OF LOVERS RESTING BENEATH A TREE / Oil on panel / 56.3 x 42.5 cm.; 22 ¼ by 16 ¾ in. We are grateful to Mary Tabener [sic] Holmes for confirming the attribution on the basis of a colour transparency. £20,000-30,000.” The painting was bought in.

 

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

Adhémar, Watteau (1950), cat. 308.

Macchia and Montagni, L’opera completa di Watteau (1968), cat. 2o-T.

Ferré, Watteau (1972), cat. P91.

Eideberg, “The Young Lancret and Watteau” (2015).

 

 

REMARKS

As can be seen in the provenance, in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries this picture enjoyed a certain esteem as a work by Watteau. Curiously, it seems to have been passed over in silence by many of the critics including de Goncourt, Réau, and the team of Dacier, Vuaflart, and Hérold. Adhémar was the first scholar to specifically doubt the attribution but she muddied the water by proposing that it was “dans le genre de Boucher,” an opinion that was then repeated by Macchia and Montagni.

Recognition that it was by the young Lancret came only at the very end of the twentieth century. His early manner is revealed in the woman’s disproportionately large head and her facial features—the large eyes and pointed nose.

a

Nicolas Lancret, L’Entretien dans le parc (detail).

b

Nicolas Lancret, Fête champetre (detail). Toulouse, Fondation Bemberg.

It has not been noticed until now that the actor in L’Entretien dans un parc appears in another early picture by Lancret, a Fête champêtre that was once in the collection of Lord Listowel; for the latter painting, see Wildenstein, Lancret (1924), cat. 340. It sold in London, Christie's, July 8, 1983, lot 8; was with the Stair Sainty Gallery in London, and is now in the collection of the Fondation Bemberg. In its more than two-hundred-year history, it has always been accepted as a work of Lancret. The heads of the actor in the two pictures are at slightly different angles but the costumes and the gesture of the right hand are identical. This is a very convenient affirmation of the attribution of our painting to Lancret.

That L'Entretien dans le parc still has something of Watteau’s spirit is also indicative that it is an early work by his former assistant.