Seated Woman with a Fan

Object Details

Title:

Seated Woman with a Fan

Artist/Maker(s):

Jean-Antoine Watteau (French, 1684 - 1721)

Culture:

French

Date:

about 1717

Medium:

Red, black, and white chalk on light brown paper

Dimensions:

19.2 x 21.4 cm (7 9/16 x 8 7/16 in.)

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Using a delicate pattern of red chalk lines to illustrate the play of light on the folds of the woman's silk dress, Jean-Antoine Watteau portrayed an elegant young woman in an unself-conscious pose. Black chalk strokes accentuate elements of emphasis: the closed fan in her hands, the outline of the edges of her dress, and the deep shadow behind her. White lines add areas of highlights. Watteau particularly favored the effects of combining three colors of chalk, red, black and white, a technique known as trois crayons.

Watteau probably sketched the figure as a life study, not in preparation for a particular painting. Later, when he required a particular gesture or movement for one of his paintings, he would have referred back to this drawing. The breathtaking simplicity and elegance of this sketch display his virtuosity and inventiveness; others said that even Watteau preferred his drawings to his paintings.

Provenance

Camille Groult, 1837 - 1908 (Paris)

Pierre Bordeaux-Groult

Wildenstein & Company

Exhibitions
18th and 19th Century Drawings (March 15 to May 29, 1994)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), March 15 to May 29, 1994, (Cat.)
Carmontelle's Transparency: An 18th Century Motion Picture (2000) (March 14 to May 28, 2000)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 14 to May 28, 2000, (Cat.)
French Drawings from the Age of Greuze (September 10 to December 1, 2002)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), September 10 to December 1, 2002, (Cat.)
Rococo to Revolution: Eighteenth-Century French Drawings from Los Angeles Collections (July 1 to September 21, 2014)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), July 1 to September 21, 2014, (Cat.)