Sanguine on paper
157 x 178 mm - Framed 42.3 x 44.7 cm
Inscribed in brown ink in the left margin " Mr pater peintre ".
Gilded frame in the Louis XV style
As Florence Ingersoll-Smouse wrote in her book dedicated to Jean-Baptiste Pater, published in 1921, "painter of the Fête galante, he interests us, both by his intimacy with Watteau, to whom many of his works are still attributed, and by his own value". This sanguine full of life and spontaneity is typical of the preparatory studies made by the painter to be used later in the composition of his paintings.
1. Jean-Baptiste Pater, pupil and disciple of Antoine Watteau
Antoine Pater, Jean-Baptiste's father, belonged to the petty bourgeoisie of Valenciennes where he worked as a merchant-sculptor. His brother Jacques was a local painter who probably participated in the training of his nephew. Born on December 29, 1695, the latter was first placed with Jean-Baptiste Guider, a local painter whose death in 1711 was probably the reason for the departure of the young Jean-Baptiste alongside Watteau, who was visiting Valenciennes. Watteau's difficult character led them to separate in 1713.
Back in Valenciennes, the painter encountered difficulties with the powerful Corporation de Saint-Luc (of which he refused to be a member) which forced him to return to Paris in 1718. He reconciled with Watteau shortly before his death (July 18, 1721), inherited the commissions that Watteau had not been able to fulfill and completed some of his works.
Pater was accepted by the Académie Royale in 1725 but did not produce his reception painting Les réjouissances du soldat until three years later. Throughout his brief career (he died at the age of forty on July 25, 1736), he was mainly a client of amateurs and received only one royal commission, shortly before his death.
2. Description and related works
Pater had adopted the compositional method of his master Watteau and made study drawings carefully recorded in a notebook which he then used to animate his compositions. His paintings sometimes suffer, as Watteau has also been criticized, from a somewhat artificial character, since the figures seem to be frozen next to each other.
The theme of military scenes (included in the genre of Fêtes galantes at the time!) was one of his favorite subjects. Along with the Women in the Bath, it constitutes the most personal side of his art. It is also one of the themes that differentiates him from Watteau: unlike the military scenes in which Watteau expresses the distress of the soldier, everything is cheerful in Pater's work. We are in a resolutely theatrical universe in which a strong feminine presence comes to remove all gloom...
We can think that the two figures quickly sketched on what seems to be a bill sent to the artist - traces of writing can be seen on the back of the sheet unfortunately stuck on a strong paper - were reused in two compositions of the painter, both representing The march of the troops.
The figure on the left, which represents a soldier in three-quarter view, leaning slightly towards his long rifle, the butt of which is on the ground, can be found in a painting in the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin.
The figure on the right of our sanguine, which represents a soldier clutching his rifle with his crossed arms, is reminiscent of one of the figures in a painting in the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
This sanguine is framed in an important Louis XV style gilded frame.
Main bibliographical reference :
Florence Ingersoll-Smouse - Pater - Les Beaux-Arts Paris 1921
Delevery information :
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