(France 1684 – 1721)
19.7 x 15.5 cm sheet; 35.0 x 30.5 x 4.0 cm frame
Despite the dissolving prettiness which is their signature quality, the paintings of Jean-Antoine Watteau are built on solid reality. Life-drawing and nature study were the necessary and pleasurable preludes to his painterly activity. His graphic style reflected the naturalism of the Italian Bolognese school, mediated through the tidier protocols of French academic drafting technique. Watteau kept his innumerable drawings in large folios as an aid to composition. Two of the figures in this sheet relate to his canvas, 'Love at the Theatre Francais'. The reclining man serves for the pose of Bacchus in the painting, while the bagpiper reappears unchanged. Coveted by connoisseurs even during the artist's lifetime, Watteau's chalk drawings have never fallen from favour. They epitomise the grace and intelligence central to the best of eighteenth century art, at the same time seeming to possess analytical and formal attributes we now think of as modern.
Art Gallery Handbook, 1999.
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 1994, Sydney, 1994, 10 (illus.), 44.
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Great gifts, great patrons: an exhibition celebrating private patronage of the Gallery, Sydney, 1994, (illus.). no catalogue numbers
Art Gallery of New South Wales, The James Fairfax collection of old masters, Sydney, 1992. no catalogue numbers
Richard Beresford and Peter Raissis, The James Fairfax collection of old master paintings, drawings and prints, Sydney, 2003, 206-9, 207 (colour illus.). cat.no. 59
Helmut Borsch-Supan, Watteau 1684-1721, Fuhrer zuz Austellung im Schloss Charlottenberg, 1985, (illus.). no. 39
Edmund Capon, Great philanthropists on trial : the art of the bequest, 'The James Fairfax collection', pg.126-135, Melbourne, 2006, 131.
Renée Free, The Art Gallery of New South Wales Collections, 'The Western Heritage, Renaissance to Twentieth Century', pg. 108-172, Sydney, 1994, 123 (colour illus.).
Florence Getreau, Watteau 1684-1721, 'Wateau et la mustique', pg. 527-545, Washington D.C., 1984, 75, 79, 80 (illus.), 81, 85, 93, 94, 98, 298 (illus.), 300, 337, 339 (illus.), 533 (illus.). cat.no. D19, referred to in cat.nos. D15, D20, D24, D30, D31, D34, illustration on page 298 is a detail
Margaret Morgan Grasselli, The drawings of Antoine Watteau, stylistic development and problems of chronology, 1987, 36, 173, 175-6, 180-82, 193, 307. note 27, no. 72, fig. 171
M. Morgan Grasselli, The Watteau Society Bulletin [vol. 3], 'U.S.A. News', pg. 51-60, 1994, 55.
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales Handbook, 'Western Collection: Works on Paper', pg. 78-92, Sydney, 1999, 81 (illus.).
K.T. Parker and J Mathey, Antoine Watteau, Catalogue complet de son oeuvre dessine, Paris, 1957, vol. 1, 13, (illus.). cat.no. 88
K.T. Parker, The drawings of Antoine Watteau, London, 1931, 30.
Peter Raissis, Michelangelo to Matisse: drawing the figure, 'Drapery and Display', pg. 60-71, Sydney, 1999, 66, 162 (colour illus.). cat.no. 154
Pierre Rosenberg and Louis-Antoine Prat, Antoine Watteau, 1684-1721: catalogue raisonne des dessins, Milan, 1996, vol. I, 310, 311 (colour illus.). cat.no. 195
Pierre Rosenberg and Louis-Antoine Prat, Watteau: the drawings, London, 2011, 60 (colour illus.). cat.no.15
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, French drawings from American collections: Clouet to Matisse, New York, 1958. cat.no. 84
French Painting, Rhode Island School of Design, United States of America, 1931–1931
French drawings and prints of the 18th century, Fogg Art Gallery, Cambridge, 1934–1934
French drawings from American collections: Clouet to Matisse:
The James Fairfax collection of old masters, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Apr 1992–14 Jun 1992
Great gifts, great patrons, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 17 Aug 1994–19 Oct 1994
Michelangelo to Matisse: Drawing the figure, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 20 Nov 1999–27 Feb 2000
The James Fairfax collection of old master paintings, drawings and prints, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 17 Apr 2003–20 Jul 2003
Watteau: the drawings, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 12 Mar 2011–05 Jun 2011