Parmi ses commanditaires on comptait les plus grands amateurs de son temps, Lériget de la Faye, Beringhen et Crozat mais aussi la Direction des bâtiments, le duc d’Antin et Fréderic II, prince royal de Prusse. De son vivant, sa pratique était lucrative ; «aucun peintre vivant n’a plus joui de sa réputation », nous confirme son conseiller d’affaires et biographe Ballot de Sovot.
Personnage intègre et scrupuleux, on retrouve chez Lancret une sorte de véracité, d’exactitude qu’on ne retrouve pas chez les peintres de cette école ; le nombre important de dessins d’après nature laissé par l’artiste en témoigne. Il est de la lignée d’artistes réalistes français pour qui la nature constitue la base solide de toute œuvre harmonieuse. Ainsi, les compositions de Lancret reflètent la peinture exacte des goûts, des mœurs et des types contemporains de la vie bourgeoise du XVIIIe siècle Français.
Les agréments de la campagne, s’inscrit parfaitement dans la production artistique de Lancret, c’est une réunion aimable d’enfants, d’un comédien italien et de jeunes gens occupés à s’entretenir, jouer et danser dans un cadre tout à fait pittoresque de la banlieue parisienne. On identifie bien la touche personnelle de l’artiste, celle qui le différencie de ses contemporains mais aussi de ses suiveurs: l’équilibre de ses compositions, l’homogénéité de son exécution et la sensibilité de ses couleurs ne laissent aucun doute sur le soin employé durant la réalisation de ses œuvres. Ce tableau est caractéristique de la facture de Lancret : le coup de pinceau est large et chargé de pigments et l’ensemble est entièrement recouvert de glacis, ce qui fait la subtilité de cette œuvre.
Cette composition eu beaucoup de succès aussi, dès 1734, on trouvait l’estampe d’après cette œuvre gravée par Joullain, en vente dans sa célèbre enseigne A la ville de Rome, sur le quai de la Mégisserie .
1 G. Wildenstein, Lancret, Les Beaux-Arts, Edition d’études et de documents, Paris, 1924, p. 12
2 B. de Savot, Eloge de Mr Lancret, peintre du Roi, impr de J. Guérrin, 1743
3 Mercure de France, France 1734, t.793, p.941.
“A landscape, with a woman and a Mezzetin dancing the Minuet in the foreground, in the left corner a group of four characters, with a gentleman playing the Hurdy-Gurdy, to the right are two little girls not far from a cluster formed by a guitar and women’s garments. This painting is characterized by vigorous colors and the faces are pleasant and expressive”; describes Jean Baptiste Pierre Lebrun for the catalogued sale of this painting in 1789. Expert and descendant of Charles LeBrun, spouse of renowned French artist Elizabeth Louise Vigée, Jean Baptiste Pierre Lebrun was recognized as one of the most important painting merchants and specialists of Paris.
Nicolas Lancret was one of the most popular and appealing French artists of his century, he owed his success to the inimitable French genre, “La Fête galante” which was introduced by his friend and mentor Antoine Watteau. The similarities of their themes and settings are evident; however the differences are equally obvious. Most importantly, the commonly known “genre de Watteau” was firstly known as the “genre de Gillot”. Therefore, it is within Claude Gillot’s studio that Lancret developed an eye for modern subjects, theater scenes, the Comedia dell’arte and decorative painting. Following Watteau’s advice, Lancret ventured into the Parisian countryside to draw his inspiration directly from nature and thus created the fabulous compositions for which he was praised all throughout his career.
Through meticulous observation of life around him and conscientiousness of nature and harmony, Lancret affirmed his facture, distinct from that of Watteau. Such was the general admiration for his creations that in 1719, Lancret was received as a full member of the Académie. Henceforth, his career was marked my remarkable achievements. In 1722, his entries for the Exposition de la Jeunesse were described by the Mercure de France as “various gallant subjects by Mr. Lancret, treated in the most graceful manner in the world”. As one of the leading artists of his time, Lancret’s patrons counted the crowned heads of Europe, along with major connoisseurs among the aristocracy and in the financial community, such as Lériget de la Faye, Beringhen and Crozat. He was also the favorite genre artist of Louis XV, who commissioned paintings from him for various royal residences, especially Versailles and Fontainebleau.No eighteenth century painter was more firmly centered and active in his practice than Lancret. His practice was extremely lucrative, “no other artist benefited as much from his reputation as Nicolas Lancret” affirms Ballot de Savot, his biographer. Profound and scrupulous, Lancret’s artwork is characterized by veracity and integrity, the numerous drawings left behind by the artist attest to his care and attention to detail. Lancret is a strong believer that harmonious painting can only be achieved through accurate representation of life and nature. Thus, his paintings are faithful narratives, steeped in eighteenth century Parisian bourgeoisie lifestyle.
Agréments de la campagne, dovetails perfectly into Lancrets’ oeuvre, it is a gathering of Italian comedians, musicians, children and young lovers, dressed in the finest gowns, busy with game, dance and leisure and set in a picturesque Parisian landscape. This painting is marked by Lancret’s identifiable style: the balanced composition, the homogenous execution and the ardent colors allow us to differentiate him from his many followers. Lancret’s painting manner is also recognized through his use of thick, richly pigmented brushstroke and his use of glaze to create an atmosphere of subtle sensuality. Lancret was well-known by his contemporaries and this composition knew a lot of success. Thus in 1734, Joullain made an engraving of this painting which could be admired in his shop “A la ville de Rome” on quai de la Mégisserie.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale