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Antoine Watteau (Valenciennes 1684-1721 Nogent-sur-Marne)
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Antoine Watteau (Valenciennes 1684-1721 Nogent-sur-Marne)

Studies of two girls: one seen from behind looking over her right shoulder, the other seated, holding a basket

Details
Antoine Watteau (Valenciennes 1684-1721 Nogent-sur-Marne)
Studies of two girls: one seen from behind looking over her right shoulder, the other seated, holding a basket
red chalk, heightened with graphite, on light brown paper
5 x 5½ in. (128 x 139 mm.)
Provenance
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, London, 3 July 1989, lot 169, where purchased by the present owner.
Literature
E. de Goncourt, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, dessiné et gravé d'Antoine Watteau, Paris, 1875, under no. 714.
P. Jean-Richard, Musée du Louvre. Cabinet de Dessins. Collection Edmond de Rothschild. Inventaire général des gravures. École française I. L'oeuvre gravé de François Boucher dans la Collection Edmond de Rothschild, Paris, 1978, under no. 144.
M. Morgan Grasselli, 'Eighteen Drawings by Antoine Watteau. A Chronological Study', Master Drawings, XXXI, 2, 1993, p. 122, no. 15.
The Watteau Society Bulletin, 1994, p. 49, no. 3.
P. Rosenberg and L.-A. Prat, Antoine Watteau, 1684-1721, Catalogue raisonné des dessins, II, Milan, 1996, no. 527.
Special notice

VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium

Lot Essay

The girl on the left is a study for a figure in L'Amour paisible, painted in 1719 for Dr Richard Mead in London. The picture is now lost but is known through an engraving by Bernard Baron (Watteau, exhib. cat., Washington and elsewhere, 1984-5, under no. P66, fig. 1).
The seated figure was used by Watteau in two pictures, Les Champs Elysées and Divertissements champêtres (M. Roland-Michel, Watteau. An artist of the eighteenth Century, London, 1984, pp. 124 and 205). In both she is seated on the ground and carries flowers in her basket.
Two drawings in the British Museum also related to figures in Les Champs Elysées and Divertissements champêtres seem to represent the same woman as in the present work (Rosenberg and Prat, op. cit., nos. 528 and 587). The three drawings share the same technique of red chalk and graphite. The latter was often used by Watteau in the later part of his career where it became 'an integral part of the image, contributing new effects of colour, texture, pattern and tone' (M. Morgan Grasselli, op. cit., p. 122).
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