PIERRE-ALEXANDRE WILLE (PARIS 1748-1821)
PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF DIANA METCALF STAINOW
PIERRE-ALEXANDRE WILLE (PARIS 1748-1821)

A group of elegantly coiffured ladies, Cupid, a dog and an old man in the foreground

Details
PIERRE-ALEXANDRE WILLE (PARIS 1748-1821)
A group of elegantly coiffured ladies, Cupid, a dog and an old man in the foreground
signed and dated ‘P.A. Wille filius inv. et del/ 1768’
pen and black ink and watercolour, watermark (‘CIG FIN’)
9 ¼ x 8 ¾ in. (23.7 x 22.2 cm)
Provenance
Collection de Mr. Chanlaire sale; Paris, 2-4 April 1860, no. 477; where acquired by
Edmond (1822-1896) and Jules de Goncourt (1830-1870), Paris (L. 1089) (23 Francs); their sale, Paris, 17 February 1897 (sold for 200 Francs to Coblentz).
Literature
E. de Goncourt, La Maison d'un artiste, Paris, 1881, I, p. 178.
E. Launay, Les Frères Goncourt collectionneurs de dessins, Paris, 1991, no. 387.

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Lot Essay


Born to Jean-Georges Wille (1715-1808), engraver and prolific draughstman, Pierre-Alexandre subsequently signed his drawings ‘P.A. Wille filius’, as shown on the present drawing. Between 1761 and 1763, Wille fils trained in his fathers close friend’s studio, Jean-Baptiste Greuze’s (1761-1763), whom largely influenced his drawing practice, and most particularly his red chalk têtes dexpression.

Pierre-Alexandre Wille developed his own independent style, in pen and ink rather than in red chalk, sometimes heightened with wash or watercolour. The present drawing illustrates this more idiosyncratic aspect of Wille’s style, and very early in his career since Wille was 20 years old in 1778. The sheet belonged to the famous collection of the Goncourt brothers in Paris. The Goncourts owned another drawing in pen and watercolour, signed and dated, ‘La Querelle’, in a private collection (see E. Launay, Les Frères Goncourt collectionneurs de dessins, Paris, 1991, no. 389, ill.; for a discussion on the drawing see L.-A. Prat, Le Dessin français au XVIIIe siècle, Paris, 2016, p. 465).

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