This tapestry was sold in Paris from the collection of the Marquis de Gontaut in 1898 with the three other tapestries signed by Lefèbvre completing the Seasons. Ceres as Summer and Bacchus as Fall were subsequently sold from the property of Nettie Garner Ryan, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, 9 - 10 December 1960, lots 409 and 408, respectively.
It is possible that this set of the Seasons was supplied to either Charles Armand Dominique de Gontaut (d. 1756), who was elevated to duc de Biron in 1723 and who was a pair de France as well as maréchal de France, or his son François Armand de Gontaut (d. 1736), who became Marquis de Gontaut and duc de Brion as a gift from his father in 1733 and who was also a pair de France.
The design for Les Portières des Dieux, first known as Nouvelles Portières des Rabesques des Dieux and comprising four panels of the Seasons, consisting of Venus as Spring, Ceres as Summer, Bacchus as Autumn and Saturn as Winter, and four panels of the Elements, consisting of Juno as Air, Diana as Earth, Neptune as Water and Jupiter as Fire, were ordered by the sûrintendant des bâtiments du Roi Jules Hardouin-Mansart from Claude Audran Le Jeune (1639 - 1684) in 1699. The figures of the various goddesses, gods and children were designed by Louis de Boullogne (1654 - 1733) and Michel II Corneille (d. 1708) while the animals are probably after Alexandre-François Desportes (1661 - 1743). Payments to the four for this commission are recorded until August 1703, when the paintings appear to have been completed. Several cartoons were delivered for each subject for both the high and the low looms. Three different border designs were prepared for the set.
Claude Audran, teacher of Watteau, was at that time also employed to decorate the chambers of the duc d'Orléans at Meudon, painting the Menagerie and the chamber of the princesse de Conti at Versailles. It is interesting to note that Audran did not appear in the Royal accounts until 1699 but at that point was charged with numerous considerable commissions. Desportes, a longtime friend of Audran, was also hired for the same commissions and specialised in animal painting.
The first tapestries of this series were completed in January 1701 in the atelier of Dominique De La Croix. The series proved to be one of the most enduring of all the Gobelins designs and was woven until 1789 with a variety of background colours and some including gold and silver thread. There are only eight offical editions noted in the records at the workshop, but there must have been additional private weavings, such as the offered lot, that were not listed in the inventories at Gobelins. In 1789 an astonishing 63 panels of this series are recorded at Versailles.
The offered panel was woven by Jean Lefèbvre the younger, who was in charge of the second high loom atelier at Gobelins from 1699 to 1736.