Rosenberg and Prat acknowledge Grasselli’s dating of the present work to 1717-19 proposing their own, fractionally later dating of 1718-19, while reaffirming her initial observation that the head is indeed extremely close to that of the bagpiper in Fêtes Vénitiennes, though clearly turned fractionally less to the left than the corresponding painted figure.2 What is without doubt, however, is that this pathos laden work, small in scale but packed full of the artist’s bravura, deftly encapsulates Watteau’s extraordinary powers as a draughtsman.
For another highly comparable drawing by the artist, depicting the Head of a young woman, also from the Defer-Dumesnil collection and similarly dating to circa 1717-1719, see lot 342.
1. Fêtes Vénitiennes, Edinburgh, National Gallery of Scotland, inv. no. NG 439; Rendez-vous de chasse, London, The Wallace Collection, inv. no. P416; Les comédiens français, New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 49.7.54
2. Rosenberg and Prat, op. cit., p. 1034, no. 607
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