69
69

PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR

Jean Antoine Watteau
YOUNG GIRL SITTING ON THE EDGE OF AN ARMCHAIR, EMBROIDERING
Estimate
120,000180,000
LOT SOLD. 143,750 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
69

PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR

Jean Antoine Watteau
YOUNG GIRL SITTING ON THE EDGE OF AN ARMCHAIR, EMBROIDERING
Estimate
120,000180,000
LOT SOLD. 143,750 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Old Master & British Works on Paper

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Jean Antoine Watteau
VALENCIENNES 1684 - 1721 NOGENT-SUR-MARNE
YOUNG GIRL SITTING ON THE EDGE OF AN ARMCHAIR, EMBROIDERING

Provenance

Probably Jean de Jullienne (1686-1766),
and his sale, Paris, 30 March-22 May 1767, part of lot 801;
probably Jules-Robert Auguste (1789-1850), Paris (according to Goncourt, 1875, p. 366),
his sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 28-31 May 1850, within lots 100-103;
Baron Louis-Auguste de Schwiter (L.1768),
his sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 20-21 April 1883, lot 160;
M.E.B[eaudet], his sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 17-23 March 1892, lot 279;
Ernest Cronier,
his sale, Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, 4 December 1905, lot 46, to Panhard;
Private collection, France;
with Jean-Luc Baroni, Ltd.

Literature

L.-A. Prat, 'Heady Airs, Festive Airs', in Watteau, The Drawings, exh. cat., London, Royal Academy of Arts, 2011, p. 19, note 3

Catalogue Note

This serene and intimate image of a young woman, totally focussed on her handiwork, encapsulates a certain aspect of Watteau's remarkable narrative and observational genius. It also demonstrates how, even in the relatively limited medium of a single colour of chalk, he was able to capture movement, light and atmosphere with the greatest sensitivity and subtlety.  

The drawing is the study for one of the figures in a lost painting entitled L'occupation selon l'age, a composition that is known only from the engraving, in reverse, which was made by Charles Dupuis, for the Recueil Jullienne (fig. 1).1 Another, less incisive and accomplished version of this drawing2 was included, without having been seen in the original, by Rosenberg and Prat in their Catalogue raisonné of Watteau's drawings, with a provenance combining the actual later history of that sheet (formerly in the Groult collection) with the earlier provenance of the present work, which is definitely the one that was in the Schwiter Collection, and almost certainly also that originally owned by Jean de Jullienne himself.  The confusion most likely originates from the 1905 catalogue of the Cronier sale. 

Few artists have ever achieved the supreme mastery of drawing that allowed Watteau to depict his subjects with almost clinical precision of observation and total communication of mood and atmosphere, without ever letting the viewer become aware of the actual process of drawing.  We engage first and foremost with the sitter and the moment depicted, and only then with how the artist has captured this moment, and that is why one can never tire of looking at an exceptional Watteau drawing such as this.  

1. P. Rosenberg and L.-A. Prat, Antoine Watteau 1684-1721, Catalogue raisonné des dessins, Milan 1996, vol. I, p. 490, fig. 306a

2. Ibid., no. 306

Old Master & British Works on Paper

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