Lot 59
  • 59

Jean-Baptiste Pater

300,000 - 500,000 USD
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  • Jean-Baptiste Pater
  • "La cueillette des roses"; "Le musicien"
  • a pair, both oil on panel


Baron James Mayer de Rothschild, by 1860;
Thence by descent in the family;
Confiscated by the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR) and deposited at Jeu de Paume, 5 November 1940,  inv. nos. R70, R73 (as style of Jean Baptiste Pater);
Taken by Hermann Göring (as School of Jean Baptiste Francois Pater);
Evacuated from Göring's home at Carinhall to Schloss Veldenstein March 1945 and again to Berchstegaden April 1945;
Recovered by the Monuments Men from Berchtesgaden and sent to the Munich Central Collecting Point, inv. nos, 7386 and 7387, 6 August 1945;
Shipped to Paris 20 September 1945 and thereafter restituted to the Rothschild family;
Thence by descent until the end of the 20th century;
When acquired by the current owner.


Paris, Galerie Martinet, Exposition des tableaux de l'École française, 1860, nos. 226 and 227.


Ph. Burty, Catalogue de l'exposition de tableaux de l'École française, exhibition catalogue, Paris 1860, cat. nos. 226 and 227;
Wildenstein, Pater, Paris 1921, p.39, no. 18, reproduced fig.11;
F. Ingersoll-Smouse, Pater, Paris 1928, p. 45, cat. no. 96 and p. 66, cat. no. 368 (both listed mistakenly as on canvas);
N. H. Yeide, Beyond the Dreams of Avarice: The Hermann Goering Collection, Dallas 2009, pp. 357, 358, cat nos. A979, A980, reproduced p. 147.


The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, simonparkes@msn.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's. This pair of paintings is well restored and framed. They could be hung in their current condition. Both panels have cradles, and the paint layers are both stable. La Cueillette Des Roses shows no instability to the panel and hardly any retouches at all. There are two or three spots in the far left sky and a spot or two in the upper right in the darker colors of the tree. Le Musicien is similarly well preserved, but at one point the panel did crack horizontally though the head of the musician. This thin crack has some retouching. In addition, there is a vertical scratch in the upper right sky running about 2 inches that has also been retouched. The retouching is fair here and could be improved if necessary.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

These charming small fête galantes epitomize Pater’s elegant style and favorite subject matter.  Using his distinctive feathery brushwork, with richly colored figures set against pale, misty backgrounds, he created depictions of a charmed and idealized rustic world.1  Here, elegantly clad figures lounge about in lush landscapes, with seemingly no cares, playing music, picking flowers, and flirting with one another.  His teacher, Jean-Antoine Watteau, created this genre and Pater successfully continued the tradition.  The audience for such pictures was international and his work was sought after by a wide clientele.  Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, eventually owned more than 40 of Pater’s works.

Note on the provenance
James Mayer Rothschild, later Baron de Rothschild (1792-1868), was the founder of the French branch of the Rothschild banking dynasty.  Although born in Germany, in 1811 he was sent to France by his father to seek his own fortune and expand the family’s interests in that country.  After several years living in Boulogne-sur-Mer, he moved to Paris where, in 1818, he founded the Rothschild Frères Bank at 21, Rue d’Artois (today Rue Lafitte) in the 9th arrondissement of Paris.  In the same year, he acquired the magnificent 19 Rue d’Artois, a hôtel particulier which housed his renowned art collection including Old Master paintings, 18th century French furniture, works of art and tapestries.  Alongside his banking interests, he invested heavily in the construction of modern industrial France.  He financed major railway projects, including the new lines between Paris and Saint Germain-en-Laye, and Paris and Versailles and, in 1845, he helped establish the railway company Compagnie des chemins de fer du Nord.

During his life, Rothschild purchased several estates in France.  The most famous of these was, perhaps, Château de Ferrières, an extraordinary house commissioned by the Baron and built by Sir Joseph Paxton using modern techniques with iron and glass.  In 1868, Rothschild also purchased Château-Lafite, the world famous vineyard. 


1.  See R. Rand, Intimate Encounters, Love and Domesticity in Eighteenth-Century France, exhibition catalogue, Hanover 1997, p. 101.