Nicolas Lancret, Baigneuses et spectateurs dans un paysage (Les Plaisirs du bain), Avant 1725 | © RMN-Grand Palais (musée du Louvre) / Jean-Gilles Berizzi
Antoine Watteau - La Proposition embarrassante, vers 1715 – 1720 | © The State Hermitage Museum / Vladimir Terebenin
Jean-Honoré Fragonard, La Fête à Saint-Cloud, vers 1775-1780 | © RMN-Grand Palais / Gérard Blot
François Boucher, Pastorale | © Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe
The Musée Jacquemart-André is delighted to be holding the exhibition "From Watteau to Fragonard... Les fêtes galantes".
There will be approximately sixty works on display, mostly paintings lent for the occasion by major collections, predominantly public, from countries including France, Germany, the UK and the USA.
The poetical term fête galante refers to a new genre of paintings and drawings that blossomed in the early 18th century during the Regency period (1715-1723) and whose central figure was Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721). These depict amorous scenes in settings garlanded with luxuriant vegetation, real or imaginary: idealised dancers, women and shepherds are shown engaged in frivolous pursuits or exchanging confidences.
Nicolas Lancret (1690-1743) and Jean-Baptiste Pater (1695-1725) were greatly influenced by the master, their works revisiting and refining the codes of the fêtes galantes. Their imaginary scenes are anchored in reality, featuring locations, works of art and multiple details that would have been easily recognisable to their contemporaries.
Works by other highly creative painters, such as François Boucher (1703-1770) and Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806), illustrate their very personal visions of the joys of the fête galante as first imagined by Watteau.
The Musée Jacquemart-André, with its marvellous collection of 18th century French paintings, is the perfect setting for an exhibition looking at fêtes galantes.