Dance before a Fountain

Object Details


Dance before a Fountain


Nicolas Lancret (French, 1690 - 1743)




France (Place created)


by 1724


Oil on canvas


97.8 x 130.8 cm (38 1/2 x 51 1/2 in.)

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In a luxuriant park adorned with a monumental fountain, two couples perform a country dance, accompanied by the music of a rustic bagpipe. On either side, other couples play out the game of love in its various stages of anticipation, entreaty, and reward.

Lancret's subject was an invention of the 1700s. Called a fête galante,these paintings depicted a pastoral landscape peopled by elegant figures strolling, making music, or attempting to woo their partners. Participants of the fête galante seemed uninhibited by the stiff conventions of formal society.

Lancret's fluid brushstroke is evident in the shimmering highlights of the costumes and in the play of their opulent colors against the harmony of the landscape background. The painting's relatively large size suggests that it was commissioned by a prominent collector, possibly an aristocratic patron or member of the French royalty.

after 1785 - 1796

Empress Catherine II of Russia, 1729 - 1796 (St. Petersburg, Russia)

1796/1797 - before 1859

State Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia)

by 1862

Robert Henry Herbert, Twelfth Earl of Pembroke, Ninth Earl of Montgomery, English, 1791 - 1862 (Paris, France) [sold, Pembroke sale, Paris, June 30, 1862, lot 10, to Ferdinand Laneuville, possibly for Edouard Fould]

1862 -

Ferdinand Laneuville (Paris, France)

- 1869

Edouard Mathurin Fould, 1834 - 1881 (Paris, France) [sold, Fould sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, April 5, 1869, lot 10, to M. Rouzé for Gustave (Samuel James) Salomon de Rothschild]

1869 - 1911

Baron Gustave (Samuel James) Salomon de Rothschild, 1829 - 1911 (Paris, France), by inheritance to his son, Robert Philippe Gustave de Rothschild, 1911.

1911 -

Baron Robert (Philippe Gustave) de Rothschild, 1880 - 1946, looted by the Nazis.

In the possession of the Nazis, restituted to the Rothschild family.

- 1982

Baron Alain (James Gustave Jules) de Rothschild, 1910 - 1982 (Paris, France), by inheritance to Robert James de Rothschild, 1982.

1982 - 2001

Robert James de Rothschild, Austrian, born 1947 (Paris, France), sold to Didier Aaron & Cie, 2001.


Didier Aaron & Cie (Paris, France), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001.

Exposition au profit de la colonisation de l'Algérie par les Alsaciens-Lorrains (April 23, 1874) (Cat. 279; as "Scène champêtre. / Collection de Mme la baronne Gustave de Rothschild")
  • Palais Bourbon, (Paris), 1874
Danse et divertissements (1948 to 1949) (Cat. 130)
  • Galerie Charpentier, Paris, 1948 to 1949
Watteau, Music, and Theater (September 21 to November 29, 2009) (Cat. 18)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), September 21 to November 29, 2009
Education Resources

Education Resource




All I Want to Do Is Dance, Dance, Dance!

Students observe and model dance movements in a drawing and painting, create a quick gesture sketch and painting, and write a persuasive speech.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts; Dance


Three/Five-Part Lesson

Language through Art (Beginning)

Lesson in which students study artwork related to people and leisure, and use related vocabulary, creating written and oral descriptions.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts; ESL (English as a Second Language)

K-2; 3-5; 6-8; 9-12; Adult Learners

Single Class Lesson

Related Media
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    Audio: Dance Before a Fountain