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Jean-Baptiste Pater (Valenciennes 1695-1736 Paris)
Jean-Baptiste Pater (Valenciennes 1695-1736 Paris)

Fête champêtre or Les dénicheurs d'oiseaux

Details
Jean-Baptiste Pater (Valenciennes 1695-1736 Paris)
Fête champêtre or Les dénicheurs d'oiseaux
oil on canvas
21 5/8 x 25 5/8 in. (54.9 x 65 cm.)
Provenance
Ferdinand James, Baron von Rothschild (1839-1898), London (according to an old label on the reverse), and by inheritance to his sister,
Mathilde, Baronin von Rothschild (1832-1924), Frankfurt (according to a label on the reverse).
J. Bomford, Esq.
Anonymous sale [The Property of a Gentleman]; Christie's, London, 17 December 1982, lot 140 (£20,000).
with Richard Green, London.
Exhibited
Leiden, C.E.M.A. Exhibition, French School, s. d., no. 12.

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Alexis Ashot
Alexis Ashot

Lot Essay

Like his master Antoine Watteau, Pater often made several versions of his favourite fête galante compositions by combining and recombining figures within them to ever different effect. The composition was repeated, with significant differences, in a similarly sized fête champêtre entitled Les Plaisirs Champêtres in the collection of Alphonse de Rothschild, London, in the late nineteenth century (F. Ingersoll-Smouse, Pater, L'art Francais, Paris, 1928, no. 45, fig. 38). As in Watteau's fêtes galantes, the lovers in the present fête champêtre wear an imaginative mixture of contemporary clothing and fancy dress, with the women in elegant street clothes while the men wear theatrical costume. The easy humour that characterizes the art of Pater is in clear evidence as is his fine touch, feathery brushwork and unmistakable palette of pearly pinks, silvery greys, milky ivories and acid blues.

A trois crayons drawing of four figures at the centre of this composition, including the seated woman and tussling couple beside her, was in the collection of Edmond and Jules de Goncourt; it appeared as lot 230 in their sale, 16 February 1897 (see E. Launey, Les frères Goncourt collectioneurs de dessins, 1991, no. 248, fig. 253).

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