Philippe Mercier (1689-1760) attributed. School of Antoine Watteau. Gallant scene.
Relined canvas of 81 cm by 54 cm
Frame 97 cm by 70 cm
The artist offers us a gallant scene. During a game of Colin Maillard a young man declares his love to a young lady, a Love encourages him in this path. On the right another young woman with a small dog at her feet seeking her attention. In the background a very beautiful landscape delicately created in a soft blue atmosphere.
Our painting is attributed to Philippe Mercier who without being a student of Antoine Watteau (he didn't really have one) painted numerous paintings in Watteau's style (there are also many painters who have done so). including Nicolas Lancret, Jean-Baptiste Pater, Pierre Antoine Quillard, Michel Barthélémy Ollivier, Bonaventure de Bar…)
Alongside his paintings according to Watteau, he also painted scenes more in the style of English painting, particularly in the way of painting faces.
Philippe Mercier (1689-1760)
We can hardly consider Philippe Mercier as a French painter. Born in Berlin into a family of French Huguenots, he trained there with Antoine Pesne, who, French by birth, himself spent almost his entire career in Germany.
He made a trip to Italy, probably passed through France and settled in London c. 1716 and spent the rest of his life there. It is claimed that he met Watteau during the latter's stay in the English capital, around 1720. In any case, Watteau's influence was decisive for Mercier; he continued it, without having strictly speaking been its student, and certain works by Mercier could pass for Watteau: witness L'Escamotor du Louvre, which comes from the La Caze collection, where he wore a attribution to Watteau. In fact, whether in his portraits or in his genre scenes, Mercier accentuates the puppet character of Watteau's characters and his art is not without kinship with that of Pietro Longhi, if not even Hogarth in its somewhat or little caricature. Mercier is poorly represented in French museums; you have to go to London to study it, at the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery.
His first "conversation pieces", or group portraits, so appreciated by British amateurs, date from 1725-26. He then enjoyed rapid success and in 1729 became "Principal Painter to the Prince of Wales", Frederick, one of the propagators of rococo in England. He then worked for the royal family (the Prince of Wales and his sisters, 1733, London, N. P. G.) but lost the favor of the Court in 1736.
He then settled in York (1739-1751) and survived without difficulty thanks to his portraits (the Burton Family or Interior Scene at the Squirrel, Paris, Louvre) and his gallant, rural or familiar scenes (the Five Sens, United States, Mellon collection; the Music Session, London, Tate Gal.; the Couseuse, id.; the Young Taster, Paris, Louvre). His works show a direct influence of Watteau (l'Escamotor, Paris, Louvre). But they retain a very British character. After a short stay in Portugal (1752), Mercier returned to live in London. It is representative of the numerous Franco-English artistic contacts in the first half of the 18th century.