Jean-Baptiste Joseph Pater (French, Valenciennes 1695–1736 Paris)
Oil on canvas
20 1/2 x 26 3/4 in. (52.1 x 67.9 cm)
Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1937
Not on view
This delicate pastel landscape with elegant figures illustrates what Pater avowed: that he owed everything to Watteau. The ladies' dresses are more or less contemporary while the short jacket, ruff, and shoe ribbons of the man with the walking stick are reminiscent of costumes for the theater. The marble putti with a dolphin must form part of a fountain hidden in shrubbery. They underline the playful nature of the subject. The painting is one of a pair. The pendant, signed and dated 1734, is in the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid.
This painting of a landscape with elegant figures is typical of Pater's work and illustrates what the artist himself avowed: that he owed everything to Jean Antoine Watteau (1684–1721). It has long since been noted that the man with the beret at the extreme left is based on a figure in one of Watteau's late works, Italian Recreation (Schloss Sanssouci, Potsdam). The satin costumes depicted here are more or less contemporary, while the short jacket, ruff, and shoe ribbons of the man with the walking stick refer to the theater. The marble putti with a dolphin emerging from the shrubbery at the right emphasize the playful nature of the subject. The palette of silver, rose, and slate blue is characteristic of Pater. Our landscape and its pendant, signed and dated 1734 (Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid), once belonged to J. Pierpont Morgan. Very few works by Pater are signed, indicating that the commission must have been an important one.
A related pair of paintings in the collection of H. M. Queen Elizabeth II is first recorded at Buckingham House, London, in 1819, with an attribution to Watteau.
[Katharine Baetjer 2010]
Inscription: Signed (lower left): PATER. F.
comte Dubarry, Paris (until 1774; his [M. L. C. de D.] sale, Rémy, Paris, November 21, 1774, no. 85, 19 x 24 pouces, with its pendant, for Fr 1,712 to ?Langlin); baron d'Aubigny, possibly baron Arthur Richard d'Aubigny, Paris (in 1892, with its pendant); Rodolphe Kann, Paris (until 1896; sold to Agnew); [Agnew, London, 1896; sold to Morgan]; J. Pierpont Morgan, London (1896–d. 1913; his estate, from 1913; cat., 1907, unnumbered, with its pendant); [Arnold Seligmann, Rey & Co., New York, by 1936–37; sold to MMA]
Paris. Galerie Georges Petit. "Cent chefs-d'œuvre des écoles françaises et étrangères," June 8–?, 1892, no. 33 (as "Scène champêtre," lent by baron d'Aubigny).
Cleveland Museum of Art. "Twentieth Anniversary Exhibition," June 26–October 4, 1936, no. 63 (as "Fete Champetre, with man holding a stick," lent by Arnold Seligmann, Rey & Co., New York).
Baltimore Museum of Art. "Age of Elegance: The Rococo and Its Effect," April 25–June 14, 1959, no. 27.
Yokohama Museum of Art. "Treasures from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: French Art from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century," March 25–June 4, 1989, no. 43.
W. Roberts. Pictures in the Collection of J. Pierpont Morgan at Princes Gate & Dover House, London. Vol. 2, Dutch & Flemish, French, Italian, Spanish. London, 1907, unpaginated.
Florence Ingersoll-Smouse. Pater. Paris, 1928, p. 39, no. 24, fig. 50, as the companion piece to the concert champêtre also in the Morgan collection (no. 19) and apparently dated 1734; lists as no. 140 a picture that seems to be the same as this one.
H. W. Williams, Jr. "A Concert Champêtre by Pater." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 32 (June 1937), pp. 148–51, ill., points out that the model for the man on the extreme left can be found in Watteau's "Récréation italienne".
Charles Sterling. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of French Paintings. Vol. 1, XV–XVIII Centuries. Cambridge, Mass., 1955, pp. 114–15, ill.
Charles Sterling inSammlung Thyssen-Bornemisza. Castagnola, Switzerland, 1971, p. 308, under no. 246.
Jane Bowers. "New Light on the Development of the Transverse Flute between about 1650 and about 1770." Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society 3 (1977), pp. 29, 31, fig. 23 (detail).
Four Guest Galleries from Paris and Paul Rosenberg & Co.: French Painting, 1600–1900. Exh. cat., Paul Rosenberg & Co. New York, 1982, p. 34.
For the pair of paintings by Pater that are most similar to this canvas and its pendant (Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid), see Mark Evans, "The Royal Collection: Paintings from Windsor Castle", exh. cat., Cardiff, 1990, pp. 84–87, nos. 35, 36, ill. Single canvases differing from the present work only in minor details are at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, and the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena.