The Country Dance

Object Details


The Country Dance


Gabriel Jacques de Saint-Aubin (French, 1724 - 1780)




about 1760 - 1762


Oil on canvas


52.4 x 65.4 cm (20 5/8 x 25 3/4 in.)

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In this ambitious composition, fifty figures occupy themselves in activities ranging from the pure frivolity of dancing to the tenderness of a caress shared by mother and child. Inspired by Jean-Antoine Watteau's fêtes galantes, in which elegant people engage in a variety of diversions, often in an idealized park or garden setting, Gabriel de Saint-Aubin devised a similar rural subject.

During the 1700s, country dances had become a popular form of summer entertainment for Parisian society. A tireless chronicler of his time, Saint-Aubin surely would have viewed these dances and theatrical performances on the outskirts of Paris. Drawing on the wit and meticulous observation seen in Dutch paintings of peasants in the 1500s and 1600s, Saint-Aubin refined the rustic folk in a characteristically French Rococo treatment.

by 1959

Private Dealer (Stockholm, Sweden)

1959 - 1971

Galerie Cailleux (Paris, France), sold to a private collector, 1971.

1971 -

Private Collection (Paris, France)

by 1983 - 1984

Didier Aaron & Cie (Paris, France), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984.

French Paintings of the Eighteenth Century (April 27 to June 04, 1983) (Cat. 18)
  • Didier Aaron, Inc. (New York, New York), April 27 to June 4, 1983

Cailleux, Jean. "An Unpublished Painting by Saint-Aubin: 'Le Bal champêtre'." The Burlington Magazine 102, no. 686 (May 1960) pp. i-iv.

Ananoff, Alexandre. "Oeuvres inédits de Gabriel de Saint-Aubin." Bulletin de la Société de l'art français 1964 (1965) pp. 115-17.

Beaumont, Kim de. "Gabriel de Saint-Aubin and His Relation to Scenes of Everyday Life in Eighteenth-Century France." M.A. thesis (New York University, Institute of Fine Arts, 1975) p. 143, no. 160.

McCullagh, Suzanne Folds. "The Development of Gabriel de Saint-Aubin (1724-1780) as a Draughtsman." Ph.D. diss. (Harvard University, 1981) p. 173.

Munhall, Edgar. "New York. French Paintings at Didier Aaron." Burlington Magazine 125, no. 966 (September 1983) p. 578.

"French Paintings of the Eighteenth Century at Didier Aaron, Inc., New York." Tableau 5, no. 6 (Summer 1983) pp. 424-25, ill.

Hassel, Christa von. "Zwischen Rom und Paris." Weltkunst 37 (15 May 1983) p. 1377.

Didier Aaron, Inc. French Paintings of the Eighteenth Century, exh. cat. (New York: Didier Aaron, 1983) pp. 48-49, no. 18, ill.

"Acquisitions/1984." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 13 (1985) p. 212, no. 142, ill.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997) p. 115, ill.

Beaumont, Kim de. "Reconsidering Gabriel de Saint-Aubin (1724-1780): The Background for His Scenes of Paris." Ph.D. diss. (New York University, Institute of Fine Arts, 1998) pp. 281, 306, 323-29, 729, fig. 154.

Bailey, Colin B., et al. Gabriel de Saint-Aubin, 1724-1780, exh. cat. (New York: The Frick Collection, 2007) pp. 208, 210, under no. 49, ill., entry by Kim de Beaumont.

McCullagh, Suzanne Folds. "The Development of Gabriel de Saint-Aubin as a Draftsman." In Gabriel de Saint-Aubin, 1724-1780, exh. cat. Colin B. Bailey et al. (New York: The Frick Collection, with Somogy Art Publishers, 2007) pp. 53, 57n20.