They had once been owned by Jules Strauss of Paris. As should be evident, the two pictures are closely related in style and composition to the ex-Segoura painting.
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Raines at first not only accepted the attribution to Mercier but posited that the pendants were very early works, painted while the artist was still in Germany. In the last half century these pictures dropped from the limelight and were rarely mentioned, much less included in his oeuvre, not even by Ingamells and Raines. Perhaps already in the eighteenth century, but certainly by the early nineteenth, it was attributed to Watteau.
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These five paintings—from the Wimpfheimer collection, Segoura, Newhouse, and Valenciennes—manifest a remarkable homogeneity of style figs. They are recognizably by one hand and from one moment in time. The stocky proportions of the figures, including the large heads, and the facial features, especially the rounded eyes and arched eyebrows, remain constants throughout. To my mind, there remains no doubt that all these works are by Mercier. The figures are more elegant in form and movement.
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They depend on inventions by Watteau that he created c. This remarkable unity of borrowings not only reinforces our attribution of these compositions to a single artist, Mercier, but it suggests something of where and how he and Watteau first met. The general scheme of Le Danseur aux catagnettes , featuring an unpartnered dancer with castanets at the center, can be compared with a lost Watteau drawing etched by the comte de Caylus fig. Near the center of the painting, a Mezzetin and his lady companion stop in their promenade. For example, the woman seated in profile, one hand drooping limply in her lap and the other hanging equally limp at her side, assumes a distinctive pose.
In the first of the ex-Newhouse pendants fig. These same five figures, posed the very same way, were together in a now lost Watteau drawing. That drawing is recorded in a counterproof that Count Nicodemus Tessin of Sweden bought in from Watteau and today is in the Stockholm Nationalmuseum fig. Lastly, the motif of Dr. Lastly, there is the painting in the Valenciennes museum. But, in fact, there are meaningful differences. In contrast, the five Mercier paintings gathered here show that he relied upon a relatively limited number of early works by Watteau. We can conclude that Mercier knew Watteau early on in his career, well before the Parisian artist came to London in The idea that the two men first met in Paris was postulated almost a century ago by Dacier and Vuaflart but it has been overlooked by critics.
In turn, the evidence presented here sheds new light on the young Watteau. I am grateful to this organization, especially Michael Daley and Selby Whittingham, for the opportunity and their encouragement. Paris: , esp. Rey, Quelques satellites de Watteau, , thought it possible that Watteau lived with Mercier when he visited London in My surmise that the sale took place in is proven correct by an announcement of the auction in The Daily Post, April 17, , p.
A number of otherwise unrecorded English sale catalogues of the first half of the eighteenth century were transcribed by Richard Houlditch, Jr. London: c. Ingamell and Raines, Philip Mercier , 7.
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An email has been sent to the email address you entered. In this email is a confirmation link. Please click on this link to confirm your subscription. In , demobilized, he returns to Paris where he settles at 12, rue du Moulin-de-Beurre, 14th arrondissement, in Montparnasse.
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In , he marries Monique Bickel born in , a pupil of the sculptor Rodin. In , he becomes friends with the coppersmith Jean Dunand for whom he will work in the afternoon for about twenty years. From to the end of his life, he multiplies the exhibitions of his works, executes many commissions throughout Europe projects in Alsace, Canada, Belgium, USA From , he becomes one of the pioneers of Modern Sacred Art.
In he becomes an active member of U.
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He leaves U. In , he leaves his Montparnasse studio for the 26, rue des Plantes in Paris, 14th arrondissement. In , he dies of a long vascular disease, at eighty years old. That same year, his friend Gustave Miklos also died. He was an honest and solid artist, a genuine man in every sense of the term.
His spontaneity and natural whim do not exclude hard work and a love of the craft rather uncommon.
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