PROPERTY OF CAILLEUX, PARIS

Jean-Baptiste Pater* (1695-1736)
PROPERTY OF CAILLEUX, PARIS Jean-Baptiste Pater* (1695-1736)

'Le Duo'

Details
PROPERTY OF CAILLEUX, PARIS

Jean-Baptiste Pater* (1695-1736)
'Le Duo'
oil on canvas
21.7/8 x 27in. (54.5 x 70.5cm.)
Provenance
Possibly Anon. Sale, Htel Drouot, Paris, 29 April 1831, lot 71.
Vicomtesse de Choiseul; sale, Paris, 15 March 1839, lot 144, 'Jolie composition demi-nature: scne pastorale'.
Literature
F. Ingersoll-Smouse, Pater, 1928, p. 67, no. 375.
Exhibited
Paris, Galerie Cailleux, Watteau et sa gnration, 1968, no. 112 (catalogue by M. Roland Michel).
Bordeaux, Galerie des Beaux-Arts, L'Art et la Musique, 1969, no. 96 (catalogue by G. Martin-Mry).

Lot Essay

This engaging picture is unique among Pater's known paintings. Although music-making shepherds and shepherdesses in fancy dress are familiar figures in his ftes champtres, no other surviving pastoral by Pater includes such large-scale figures. If one discounts the few half-length portraits that have been dubiously attributed to the artist (see Ingersoll-Smouse, op. cit., figs. 551-2), all of Pater's paintings are genre scenes - usually, though not always, in landscape settings - with small figures composed in the manner of his master, Antoine Watteau. The present painting is like an enlarged detail from one of these scenes, and one can find similar, though not identical, musical couples in small scale in any number of Pater's country idylls (for example, ibid., figs. 17, 19 and 229).

The exceptional format of the painting must reflect the wishes of an unknown patron. Originally, the upper corners of the picture were shaped, as can still be seen in raking light, suggesting that it was created as a decoration. Most likely it was intended as an overdoor for a small salon, perhaps a music room, and would probably have had at least one companion painting of identical format, though none is known today. Like Watteau, who also tailored his usual repetoire for special commissions (see lot 38), Pater is known to have made a certain number of decorative paintings, presumably on request ( ibid. figs. 154-7).

Pater did not significantly alter his usual painting style in 'Le Duo', which is characterized by the pastel colors - acidic blues and pearl pinks, especially - and delicate, feathery brushwork that distinguish all of his works. A lively red chalk study for the boy with the flute was formerly in the Groult collection; its present whereabouts are unknown (fig. 1; Poulet; sale, Htel Drouot, Paris, 3 December 1965, lot 46).

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