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Fête galante in a Wooded Landscape
  • Date: c. 1719–21
  • Object Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 127.2 x 191.7 cm
  • Inv: P391
  • Location: Billiard Room
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Further Reading
  • This Fête galante is a large-scale version of 'Les Champs Elisées' (P389), also at the Wallace Collection. Their different styles and some technical observations suggest that the large 'Fête galante' is probably earlier than the small panel. The village in the background here is Northern, not Italian like on P389. The sculpture of the seated woman is an allegory of opportunity - on 'Les Champs-Elisées an unspecified reclining female nude is shown. The seated woman is shown with long hair on one side and no hair on the other illustrating that opportunity can only be grasped at the right moment. This work and another now in the Wallace Collection, 'Rendez-vous de chasse’ (P416) are documented as pendants between 1787 and 1848. Watteau did not intend them as a pair, for P416 was only enlarged to match the size of the 'Fête galante' at some unknown moment after 1731. The 4th Marquess of Hertford acquired only the 'Fête galante in a Wooded Landscape' for 1,050 guineas in 1848 and reunited the false pendants in 1865. Both paintings are among Watteau's largest works.