Studies of Three Women

Object Details

Title:

Studies of Three Women

Artist/Maker(s):

Jean-Antoine Watteau (French, 1684 - 1721)

Culture:

French

Place(s):

France (Place created)

Date:

about 1716 - 1717

Medium:

Red, black, and white chalk

Dimensions:

26.8 x 32.7 cm (10 9/16 x 12 7/8 in.)

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It was [Jean-Antoine Watteau's] habit to make his drawings in a bound book, so that he always had a large supply of them at hand. When he was in the mood to paint a picture, he resorted to his collection of drawings and chose the figures most suited for the occasion.

Just as this early biographer described, Watteau made this drawing as a study of women's costumes and movement. The central figure later appeared in his painting, Embarkation for Cythera, a diploma piece that gained him membership in the Académie Royale in 1717; the right figure appeared in another painting.

Watteau may have first learned the three-colored chalk technique called trois crayonsby studying Peter Paul Rubens's drawings. This example shows his mastery of the technique and of composition. Watteau achieved brilliant color effects not only through the sensitivity of his line but also by setting down each chalk separately, rather than mixing the three colors. Although each figure is a separate study, Watteau arranged the three elements to create a pleasing, balanced composition.

Provenance

Jules-Robert Auguste (Paris and Rome)

Baron L.A. de Schwiter (Paris)

M. Larroque

H.H.A. Josse (Paris)

Jacques Doucet, 1853 - 1929 (Paris)

Féral Collection (Paris)

Donaldson Collection (London)

Walter Spencer Morgan Burns, 1872 - 1929 (London)

Mortimer Leo Schiff, 1877 - 1931 (New York)

Lord Wharton (Dublin and Switzerland)

Heirs of Lord Wharton (Switzerland)

May 28, 1850

J. Lemaitre-Lauguettrie (Paris) [Paris], lot 101 or 102 (Auguste sale)

April 20-21, 1883

Hôtel Drouot, lot 157 (Schwiter sale, to Larroque)

May 28, 1894

Galerie Georges Petit, lot 46 (Josse sale)

June 5, 1912

Galerie Georges Petit, lot 55 (Doucet sale, possibly to M. Féral)

June 24, 1938

Christie's (London), lot 54 (Schiff sale)

Exhibitions
European Masters of the Eighteenth Century (1954 to 1955) (277)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), 1954 to 1955
Christie's Bi-Centenary Exhibition (January 1967) (57)
  • Christie's (London), January to January, 1967
Figure Drawings (December 17, 1996 to April 6, 1997) (57)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), December 17, 1996 to April 6, 1997
Color in Drawing (March 10 to May 24, 1998) (57)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 10 to May 24, 1998
Red Chalk Drawings (March 16 to May 30, 1999) (57)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 16 to May 30, 1999
Carmontelle's Transparency: An 18th Century Motion Picture (2000) (March 14 to May 28, 2000) (57)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 14 to May 28, 2000
Work and Play: Everyday Life in Drawings; 1520 - 1820 (July 31 to October 14, 2001) (57)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), July 31 to October 14, 2001
French Drawings from the Age of Greuze (September 10 to December 1, 2002) (57)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), September 10 to December 1, 2002
Rococo to Revolution: Eighteenth-Century French Drawings from Los Angeles Collections (July 1 to September 21, 2014) (57)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), July 1 to September 21, 2014