Jean-Baptiste Pater

Dates1695 - 1736

Jean-Baptiste Pater followed his artistic role model and predominant inspiration, Jean-Antoine Watteau, in being born in Valenciennes and painting festive scenes. Pater first studied with a local painter and with his sculptor father before working briefly under Watteau in Paris. After Watteau's difficult temperament led to dismissal, Pater spent a few trying years before returning to Valenciennes. Back in Paris in 1718, he worked for some of Watteau's clients, including his dealer, who later described their reconciliation: "Watteau gave the last days of his life to Pater and worked with him. . . . Pater later confessed to me that everything he knew came from this short period of instruction." Flemish art also influenced Pater. While he often used compositions, settings, and costumes inspired by Watteau, he replaced Watteau's poetic mood with the joviality of Flemish peasant festivals. As famous as Watteau in his day, Pater was received by the Académie Royale in 1728. Unfortunately, he constantly worried about his financial security. "The poor man never gave himself a moment of relaxation; he denied himself necessities and his only pleasure was counting his money. I have never seen anyone who lived such a miserable life," reported a contemporary art collector.