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Standing Savoyarde with a Marmot Box

Artist:
Antoine Watteau (French, Valenciennes 1684–1721 Nogent-sur-Marne)
Date:
ca. 1715
Medium:
Red and black chalk
Dimensions:
12 5/16 x 8 in. (31.2 x 20.3 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Bequest of Therese Kuhn Straus, in memory of her husband, Herbert N. Straus, 1978
Accession Number:
1978.12.1
Not on view
Early in his career, before devoting himself to popular subjects of lovers, aristocrats, and commedia dell'arte figures, Watteau treated themes inspired by his Northern training: the hardships of military life and the travails of the lower classes. This sheet is one of around a dozen depicting Savoyards, natives of the region of Savoy, whose impoverished circumstances sometimes led them to take up an itinerant life as street performers. This elderly woman in ragged clothes leans on a cane and gazes off to the side. On her arm is strapped a box to hold a marmot, used as a form of street entertainment. Watteau records her with candor, first in red chalk, and then with sharp accents of black to pick out creases and shadows.
Inscription: In pen and brown ink at lower right corner (recto) : "Watteau"; on verso, in pen and black ink, draft of a letter in an unknown hand: "Monsieur/ J'ai reçu aujourd'hui vos deux lettres ensemble qui ont/ autant donné de peine au facteur pour me les remettre en/ main qu'elle m'ont causé de surprise par la qualité/ que vous me donnez de peintre de son A. A. Monseignr/ Le Duc d'Orléans moy indigne et qui n'a aucun talens/ pour y aspirer a moins que d'un miracle. J'ai tant/ de foy en vos reliques que je ne doute nullement de son/ accomplissement si vous voulez avoir la bontée de joindre vos/ prières au désir que j'ai d'acquérir du crédit et de la/ faveur mes désirs sont sans bornes quand même."
F. Locker Lampson (British, 1821–1895); Right Honourable Augustine Birrell; Richard Owen London, July 1929; Previously owned by Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Straus
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "French Drawings Recently Acquired, 1975-1984," November 27, 1984–February 10, 1985.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Eighteenth-Century French Drawings in New York Collections," February 3, 1999–April 25, 1999.

Bean and Turcic 1986.328; Rosenberg and Prat 1996.299 (vol. I)
Émile Dacier, Jacques Hérold, Albert Vuaflart Jean de Jullienne et les graveurs de Watteau au XVIII siècle. vols. 1-4, Paris, 1921-1929, fig. no. 62, pp. 154-157.

Karl Theodore Parker, Jacques Mathey Antoine Watteau: Catalogue complet de son oeuvre dessiné. Paris, 1957, cat. no. 496 (Vol. I), p. 68, ill.

French Drawings from American Collections: Clouet to Matisse Ex. cat. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Dutch, French and English versions of catalogue. Rotterdam, Paris, New York, MMA February 3 - March 15, 1959, cat. no. 86, fig. no. pl. 31, ill.

Linda Boyer Gillies, Colta Ives French Drawings and Prints of the Eighteenth Century. Ex. cat. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1972, cat. no. 48.

Jacob Bean "Departmental Accessions: Drawings." Annual Report of the Trustees of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, July 1, 1977 - June 30, 1978. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 108, New York, 1978, p. 36.

Jacob Bean Notable Acquisitions (Metropolitan Museum of Art), 1975-1979: Drawings. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1979, pp. 56-7, ill.

Margaret Morgan Grasselli, Pierre Rosenberg Watteau, 1684-1721. Ex. cat. National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., Washington, 1984, cat. no. D51, pp. 116-117, ill.

Jacob Bean, Lawrence Turčić 15th-18th Century French Drawings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1986, cat. no. 328, pp. 291-292, ill.

Pierre Rosenberg, Louis-Antoine Prat Antoine Watteau 1684-1721: Catalogue raisonné des dessins. Milan, 1996, cat. no. 299 (Vol. I), pp. 476-477, ill.

Perrin Stein, Mary Tavener Holmes Eighteenth-Century French Drawings in New York Collections Exh. cat. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1999, cat. no. 3, pp. 5-7, ill.



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