Description & Technical information

Period:  1600-1750, 18th century
Medium: Both oil on canvas
Dimensions: 23.4 x 18.2 cm (9¹/₄ x 7¹/₈ inches)
Provenance: Painted for the King's cabinet, Château de la Muette, circa 1708-1716;
Possibly anonymous sale, Paris 28-29 April 1829, lots 71 and 72 (as lot 71, Antoine Watteau, Composition de deux figures de Chinois, dont l'un joue de la vielle and lot 72, Jeune fille assise dans un jardin; près d'elle est un jeune garcon; Pendant du precedent);

Chinese Musician only:
Possibly Bezançon de Wagner;
Anonymous sale, New York, Sotheby's, 11 January 1996, lot 151;

Chinese Woman only:
Private collection, Switzerland, 2009; acquired through Sotheby's private treaty sale, November 2009.

Literature: E. de Goncourt, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, dessiné et gravé d'Antoine Watteau, Paris 1875, p. 194, cat. nos. 227 and 228;
E. Dacier and A. Vuaflart, Jean de Julienne et les graveurs de Watteau, 1921-1922, cat. nos. 232 and 233 (for the engravings after the paintings);
H. Adhémar and R. Huyghe, Watteau, sa vie — son oeuvre, Paris 1950, pp. 203-204, under cat. no. 18 (lost decorations for the Chateau de la Muette; engraving after Chinese Musician reproduced p. 96);
F. Gétreau, "Watteau et sa génération: contribution à la chronologie et à l'identification de deux instruments," in Imago Musicae, 1987, pp. 303, 307 (Chinese Musician only);
P. Stein, "Boucher's chinoiseries: some new sources," in The Burlington Magazine, vol. 138, September 1996, p. 599, note 8 (Chinese Musician only);
M. Eidelberg and S. Gopin, "Watteau's Chinoiseries at La Muette," in Gazette des Beaux-Arts, vol. 130, July/August 1997, p. 26, reproduced fig. 14 (Chinese Musician only; as a copy after the engraving);
New Orleans, 1997, pp. 173-175, reproduced;
M. Roland-Michel, in The Age of Watteau, Chardin and Fragonard. Masterpieces of French Genre Painting, exhibition catalogue, Ottawa 2003, pp. 115-116, reproduced fig. 77 (Chinese Musician only);
K. Scott, "Playing Games with Otherness: Watteau's Chinese Cabinet at the Chateau de La Muette," in Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, vol. 66, 2003, pp.196-197, reproduced fig. 3 (Chinese Musician only; as Attributed to Watteau);
G. Glorieux, Watteau, Paris 2011, pp. 56-58, reproduced p. 57 (Chinese Musician only; as possibly a modello);
N.P. Lallement, in Antoine Watteau (1684-1721). La Leçon de musique, exhibition catalogue, Brussels 2013, pp. 207-208, cat. no. 125 and 126, reproduced;
M. Taverner-Holmes, in De Watteau à Fragonard, Les fêtes galantes, exhibition catalogue, Paris 2014, pp. 58-59,209, cat. nos. 10 and 11, reproduced p. 59 (as circa 1708).

Exhibitions: New Orleans, 1997, no. 68 (Chinese Musician only);
Brussels, Palais de Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles, Antoine Watteau (1684-1721). La Leçon de musique, 8 February - 12 May 2013, nos. 125 and 126;
Paris, Musée Jacquemart-André, De Watteau à Fragonard, Les fêtes galantes, 14 March - 21 July, 2014, nos. 10 and 11.

Categories: Paintings, Drawings & Prints