Defining the Oeuvre of Bonaventure de Bar (Part 1)
Created June 21, 2011
Around 1930, the French writer and critic Robert Rey created the phrase “satellites of Watteau” to characterize the early eighteenth-century followers of Watteau.1 He did not consider the two best known of the painter’s disciples—Jean Baptiste Pater and Nicolas Lancret—but focused instead on some of the more obscure followers including Philippe Mercier, François Octavien, Jérôme François Chantereau, and the subject of the present study, Bonaventure de Bar.2 Despite the eighty years that have since passed, much about the artistic identities of these Watteau satellites remains unresolved.
In the case of Bonaventure de Bar (1700-29), the artist has been the subject of several, not necessarily useful studies. One of the first and most serious was Antony Valabrègue’s essay written in the first years of the twentieth century.3 In addition to the artist’s morceau de réception in the Louvre, he gathered together another extant painting that he thought was by de Bar, three references to de Bar paintings in eighteenth-century auctions, and a handful of extant drawings. A quarter of a century later, Georges Huard offered only a very short biography of the artist, and credited him with only one extant painting—the one in the Louvre—and listed very few sale references and drawings.4 While Rey’s study was lengthy, and although he listed more paintings and drawings than previously, many prove to be false attributions. Later, several of the drawings and paintings misattributed to de Bar were correctly reassigned to Pierre d’Angellis by Karl T. Parker.5 This once again left de Bar with a relatively small oeuvre. Despite the passage of time, there has been little interest in de Bar, much less any sustained attempt to establish the whole of his corpus on a considered basis.6 Marianne Roland Michel mused that in addition to references in eighteenth-century sale catalogues, there were a handful of paintings by this artist but she did not list them.7 Guillaume Glorieux has proposed giving to de Bar a cycle of murals as well as eight extant paintings, although, as will be seen, I feel that a good many of them are not actually by our artist.8
Clouding the issue even further, a great many rococo paintings that have appeared on the art market in the last century have been attributed to de Bar. A seemingly endless array of works have been given to him but they are mostly copies after compositions by Watteau, Pater, and Lancret, whereas paintings actually by him have been neglected. A straightforward and reasoned analysis is much needed. What I propose to do here is to consider pictures by de Bar that are referred to in eighteenth-century sale catalogues and, wherever possible, link these references with extant works. I will also consider a few additional pictures that are not documented but are related in style and subject. As will be seen, a sizable number of paintings can be convincingly attributed to de Bar, which is all the more remarkable since the artist’s career spanned probably less than one decade.
A word needs to be said about de Bar’s life. Indeed, such remarks can only be brief since his career was extremely short and so little is documented. He was born in Paris, as is recorded in the Procés verbaux of the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture, where he is described as “Le sieur Bonaventure de Bar, de Paris.”9 A birth date of 1700 has been calculated on the basis of the announcement of his death at the Académie royale on September 3, 1729; it states that he had just died three days earlier at the age of 29.10 The Académie’s records also indicate that he studied with Claude Guy Hallé (1652-1736), although nothing of that artist’s style is manifest in de Bar’s work. De Barre (as his name was entered in the record) tried unsuccessfully for the Prix de Rome in August 1721, just a month after Watteau died, but he lost to Charles Joseph Natoire, and only tied for second place against a painter named La Motte, about whom nothing further is known.11 In 1723, de Bar tried again but was unsuccessful.12 Finally, though, on September 25, 1728, de Bar was admitted to the Academy with the special designation: “Peintre dans le talent particulier de la figure, comme Téniers et Wauwermans.”13 As often occurred, his entrance fee was lowered to 100 francs and he took the oath that day from Louis de Boullogne, Rector of the Academy, as did Chardin. De Bar attended meetings of the Académie royale, one on September 30, 1728, and another on December 31, 1728, when Pater was admitted into that august body with the title “dans le talent particulier des fêtes galantes.”14
De Bar’s address in the 1728 Almanach Royal was listed as “rue de Sève [Sèvres] devant l’Abbaye-au-Bois, chez M. le marquis de la Faye” and his lodging there is confirmed in Pierre Jean Mariette’s Abecedario.15 De Bar evidently enjoyed the patronage of Jean François Lériget, marquis de La Faye (1674-1731), a diplomat attached to the court of Louis XIV and the Regent, and also a man of letters and a generous supporter of the arts. De Bar was also favored by the comtesse de Verrue, the noted blue stocking and passionate art collector whose salon was attended by Lériget. In short, despite de Bar’s youth, he already enjoyed distinguished patronage and was ensconced among leading Parisian amateurs of the day. This upward ascent, the normal progress for a French artist of merit, was suddenly cut short when he died on September 1, 1729—before his thirtieth birthday. When his death was announced at the Académie royale, instead of describing him as a painter in the manner of Teniers and Wouvermans as they had previously, he was now more fittingly recognized as a “Peintre dans le talent des fêtes galantes.”16
|1. Bonaventure de Bar, A Village Fair, c. 1728, 97 x 130 cm. Paris, Musée du Louvre.||2. Detail of fig. 1.|
The picture that Bonaventure de Bar submitted to the Académie royale in 1728 remains the cornerstone for reconstructing his oeuvre. The Procés verbaux records that he presented three paintings and the academicians chose one, designated as a Foire de village. This is the canvas preserved in the Louvre (figs. 1, 2).17 De Bar, like many young painters hopeful of gaining admission to the Académie royale, created a work large in scale and ambitious in composition. Indeed, it is the largest known work by the artist and its cast of over forty figures in the foreground is almost without parallel in his oeuvre. At first, the general tenor of the painting and perhaps even some of the figures suggest Watteau’s manner. The man to the left of center, lifting up a flask of wine, may recall the somewhat analogous figure in Watteau’s arabesque, Le Buveur content, but the steep degree of his inclination suggests the next generation of painters. Indeed, many of de Bar’s figures seem much closer to closer to the work of Watteau’s chief pupil, Jean Baptiste Pater. The exaggerated proportions and posture of the woman in white to the right of center recalls many of Pater’s coy figurines. Also, the disposition of the figures along the crest of the hill and the very extensive landscape that tilts upward, drawing our eye to the distant horizon, is in accord with a Northern tradition and was favored by Pater much more than Watteau. Thanks both to its pedigree and good condition, the Louvre painting remains a standard against which all other attributions to the artist should be judged.
Eighteenth-century sale catalogues provide important insight into de Bar’s manner of painting. Rather than consider these citations in the chronological order of the sales, I would prefer to begin with those which can be associated with extant works. In this respect, then, one of the most useful is to pendants that appeared in the 1778 sale of the miniaturist Jean Antoine Gros (father of the much more famous painter Baron Antoine Jean Gros):
De Bar. Two pretty pendants. In one we see a woman dancing to the sound of a bagpipe. Two women and a seated man watch her. Further back, one notices two other figures, cut off; at the right and behind the main group, is a pedestal on which is a lion masked by masses of trees. The other shows a woman dressed with a white silk skirt and a red cape, her eyes fixed on a young man who brings refreshments. Behind her is a young man leaning on her chair. In the middle ground, in the right corner of the painting, are a man and a woman. Behind the main group and on a pedestal is a statue of a reclining Venus, half hidden by a mass of trees. These two paintings, well and delicately executed, are as fine as two by Pater. Height 7 pouces [19 cm]; width 10 pouces [27.1 cm]. On panel.18
Perhaps it is merely coincidental, but Gros’ morceau de réception when he was presented to the Académie royale in 1725 was a portrait of Hallé, de Bar’s teacher.19 Conceivably Gros and de Bar might have met face to face at this time, which might explain how Gros came to own the two de Bar paintings.
|3. Gabriel de St. Aubin, Sketches of the de Bar pendants in the catalogue of the Gros sale, 1778. Paris, Bibliothèque d'art et d'archéologie.||4. Bonaventure de Bar, A Country Fête, 20 x 27.3 cm. Pasadena, Norton Simon Foundation.|
Gabriel de Saint-Aubin viewed the Gros sale and, as was his custom, sketched the two de Bar paintings in the margin of his catalogue (fig. 3). His quick but incisive drawing allows us to identify the first of the pendants with a picture now in the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena (fig. 4). Its composition, it panel support, and its measurements agree with the painting described in the 1778 sale. The general style of the individual figures conforms to what we see in the Louvre painting, and also the group as a whole is analogous to the group at the center of the Louvre painting (fig. 2). These points of provenance and style firmly establish the attribution of the Pasadena painting to de Bar.
Gros’ two pictures remained together for a while longer in the eighteenth century. They came up for sale in 1786, apparently consigned by the dealer Morelle.20 In 1791, the pendants came up for auction a third time, now among works consigned by Artaud and Rebes.21 In both instances they were ascribed to de Bar, the descriptions retained the previous wording, and their provenance from Gros’ collection was duly noted. All trace of the pictures disappeared during the Revolution and the pendants were separated. When the painting now in Pasadena re-emerged in England in the late nineteenth century, its earlier history had been forgotten and, not surprisingly, it had been reattributed to Watteau.22 This ascription was patently unbelievable and so the painting was downgraded, not back to de Bar (a name rarely encountered then) but, rather, to Pater. The picture remained misclassified under that attribution until recently, although several scholars in the field have suggested that it was by de Bar.23 This pattern of recognition, disappearance, misattribution, and re-identification is a process that was repeated in the sagas of most of the de Bar paintings which follow.
|5. Bonaventure de Bar, A Country Dance, 58.9 x 80 cm. Whereabouts unknown.|
A similar sequence of stages occurred to an unusually large painting by de Bar. It appeared at least three times on the Paris market in the late eighteenth century. The first listing was in a 1785 anonymous sale, where the de Bar painting was not described with any precision but its dimensions were given: “Two paintings, one of which is by de Bar, a student of Watteau, representing a country fête... Height 24 pouces [65 cm], width 30 [78.5 cm].”24 At that time it was paired with a faux pendant, a picture whose artist was designated simply as “Bonnard,” probably Robert Bonnart (1652-after 1729).25
The de Bar painting, shorn of its Bonnard pendant, appeared two years later in a sale of works supposedly from an unnamed artist and with the width just slightly larger: “A painting by Debare, showing a country dance in front of a landscape. Height 24 pouces [67.5 cm], width 32 pouces [86.1 cm]. Canvas.”26 A decade later, the painting reappeared among works being sold from the collection of Denis Pierre Jean Papillon de la Ferté:
Debar. A country dance composed of twenty-six figures forming varied and pleasant groups. This painting should be considered one of the most important by this master, who brought together the spirit and the color of Watteau. Height 24 pouces [65 cm], width 32 [78.5 cm]. Canvas.27
Then, like so many paintings at the time of the French Revolution, the picture disappeared from sight.
This Country Dance can be identified with a charming, large fête galante by de Bar (fig. 5). The painting has the requisite twenty-six figures, it features a country dance, and its size corresponds to the eighteenth-century listings. Expectably, when it surfaced in the late nineteenth century and was in the collection of the comtesse de Courval, it was attributed to Pater.28 Less than a decade later, in 1894, it came up at the auction of paintings from the collection of the vicomtesse de Redmond.29 By that time it bore an attribution to de Bar. Valabrègue, who saw the painting then, agreed and compared it to the artist’s morceau de réception in the Louvre.30 The painting was bought by the marquis de Barthélemy but by 1910, when it was in the collection of the Princesse de Poix, its attribution had been upgraded to Watteau.31 A decade later, Georges Wildenstein reattributed it to Lancret.32 Following him, Adhémar accepted it as a work by Lancret.33 On the other hand, not only did Mathey recognize the painting to be by de Bar, but David Carritt actually linked this canvas with the de Bar picture listed in the 1797 de la Ferté sale.34 Most recently, when the painting came up for sale in 1997, it was again attributed to de Bar but with limited discussion and only some of the painting’s long history and seesawing attributions.35
Valabrègue’s original comparison of the Country Dance to de Bar’s Village Fair in the Louvre is just. The two central female characters in both works, although not posed the same, possess identical proportions—especially the contrast between their elongated bodies and small doll-like heads. The bagpipe players in the two works are quite similar. The Country Dance also has links to other de Bar canvases. For example, the man seated on the ground, resting his head on his hand, recalls the similarly contemplative woman in the Pasadena painting. Even more striking is the group at the far right—a seated woman seen from behind and a gesticulating man; the almost identical group reappears in a de Bar painting yet to be discussed (fig. 6). In short, the eighteenth-century provenance of our painting and its visual links to other works by the artist leave no doubt as to its attribution.
|6. Bonaventure de Bar, A Day in the Countryside, 57 x 68 cm. Whereabouts unknown.|
A similar turn of events can be observed apropos of another de Bar painting, one that appeared in a Parisian sale in 1781:
A day in the countryside. One sees eight figures of men and women in a garden, and near a stream. Some of them eat and others make music. Height 20 pouces [54 cm]. Width 25 pouces [68 cm]. Canvas.36
As in our previous examples, this reference can be linked with an extant painting (fig. 6). The picture has the proscribed eight figures in a garden, eating and making music, and its size accords with the dimensions recorded in 1781. The modern history of the painting cannot be traced until after World War II. At that time, it was properly attributed to de Bar (had it retained its attribution since the eighteenth century?) but its early provenance was unknown.37 Owned by Galerie Cailleux of Paris, it was exhibited on a number of occasions, but it has not been seen for the last half century.
|7. Detail of child from The Village Fair (Louvre).||8. Detail of dwarf servant in A Day in the Countryside (whereabouts unknown).|
There are many links between this picture and other established works by de Bar. As has already been mentioned, the most striking analogies are with elements at the right side of the Country Dance: the seated woman seen from behind on a chair turned at a slight angle (one could not hope for a closer match) and the gesticulating man leaning on the chair. Not to be overlooked is the similar placement of a cello in the right foreground to create a repoussoir element. The remaining figures resemble those in de Bar’s other fêtes galante. Even the dwarf servant offering something to drink, although decidedly atypical, but can be favorably compared to the figure of a child in the Louvre painting (figs. 7, 8). Their proportions and especially their hunched shoulders are remarkably similar.
|9. Bonaventure de Bar, A Country Fête, 36.2 x 46.3 cm. Baltimore, Walters Art Museum.||10. Bonaventure de Bar, A Country Fête, 36 x 47 cm. Whereabouts unknown.|
Similar success can be had with a pair of de Bar pendants that were sold in Paris in 1818. Then they were described in only the most general of terms: “Pastoral scenes in landscapes and imitative of Watteau. These two paintings form pendants. W. 17 pouces [46 cm] x H. 14 pouces [38 cm]. On canvas.”38 While the description is obviously too generic to be of use, the dimensions correspond to a composition by this artist that exists in two seemingly identical versions. One is in the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (fig. 9), and the second has been on the art market (fig. 10). Henry Walters bought his picture from the Glaenzer Gallery of New York in 1904, at which time and still until recently it was considered to be by Pater.39 In 1990 Alastair Laing proposed an attribution to de Bar, pointing out the stylistic similarities with a picture in the Blaffer Foundation (fig. 16).40 The second version, of identical composition and size, appeared on the Paris market in the 1920s and was on the New York market in recent years.41 Remarkably, this second work was already classified in 1929 as “attributed to Bonaventure de Bar,” and then was fully ascribed to him a few years ago. Until now no one realized there were these Doppelgängers. As best as can be judged from photographs, they appear to be of identical quality.
|11. Bonaventure de Bar, A Country Fête, 37.5 x 46.3 cm. Rouen, Musée des Beaux-Arts.|
As we have seen, there originally was a pendant to the picture sold in 1818, but one might wonder if both versions had pendants. One of the lost pendants, quite possibly, is a canvas in the Musée des Beaux-Arts of Rouen, which I know only from a poor photograph (fig. 11). This work once belonged to the eighteenth-century painter Jean Baptiste Descamps (1714-1791) and then was donated to the museum.42 For many years it was classified just as “French school, eighteenth century,” but more recently it was reattributed to a follower of Bonaventure de Bar. Its size corresponds to the painting in Baltimore and its twin, and the disposition and scale of the figures harmonize with those two paintings.
Some eighteenth-century sale references to de Bar paintings have such sufficiently ample descriptions that they offer the promise that if the actual paintings were to resurface, they could be recognized. One such example is a large fête by de Bar that the dealer Lebrun sold in 1778:
Inside a picturesque garden, in the front of which one sees a young man who pays court to a young woman who has fallen. Further back are a man and woman seated near a fountain, at the base of which are swans. The background is closed off by a small grove where one discovers two figures. Height 24 pouces [65 cm], width 18 pouces [48.7 cm]. Canvas.43
Ironically, while the overall description and the specific narrative are explained in greater detail than normal, no de Bar painting like this is known.
Another such example is a picture which was sold from the collection of a Madame Hayes in 1766. Her picture was described as:
Different characters at the table, a man dressed as a peasant, and one dressed in German fashion who dances, an old man who plays the hurdy-gurdy. This picture is painted by de Barre on a canvas, height 16 pouces [43.3 cm], width 20 [54.2 cm].44
The “German” suit may have referred to a man wearing a costume with braids or Brandenbourgs.
Among the other paintings ascribed to de Bar in the eighteenth century, several have special themes. For example, one owned by the dealer Aucun and sold at auction in 1779 showed a fortune teller: “A Fortune Teller, by de Bar.”45 As this was not an uncommon subject in the works of Watteau and Pater, we can imagine that de Bar’s rendering showed a picturesque gypsy examining the hand of a fashionably dressed young woman, with other gallant figures surrounding her.46 Unfortunately, no such composition is to be found among extant works attributable to our artist.47
Whereas de Bar generally painted most of his subjects in contemporary clothes, theatrical costumes are occasionally visible in his compositions, as at the left side of a picture in Amiens (fig. 17). There is an instance where de Bar is recorded as having painted all the characters dressed in the costumes of the commedia dell’arte. It is an exceptionally large-scale painting that was in the collection of the abbé de Gévigney, a collector noted today for the unusual works he gathered together. De Bar’s painting was described as:
A subject of five characters from the commedia dell’arte, artistically painted in the manner of Watteau, with a pretty landscapebackground. On canvas, H. 37 pouces [90 cm], w. 29 pouces [75.8 cm].48
If the artist painted one picture with the commedia dell’arte, then there is a strong probability that he painted others but there is no trace of them.
All of de Bar’s extant paintings are multi-figured compositions, yet apparently he occasionally painted works with just a single figure. One such work, small in size, depicted a sleeping shepherdess, a pastoral genre that, likewise, is unusual for him. The painting appeared twice at auction, in relatively quick succession. The first was in 1779: “A picture painted on canvas by de Bare. It shows a shepherdess sleeping in a landscape. H. 8 pouces [21.7 cm], width 14 [38 cm].”49 Then, in 1784 it appeared a second time: “A sleeping shepherdess by the same artist [de Barre], on canvas.”50
De Bar also tried his hand at painting military subjects. The one documented example is a picture sold in 1784, in a vente composé put up by the dealer Aucun: “Provisioners on the move, by de Barre.”51 Unfortunately, no dimensions were given nor was the subject described in further detail. Three paintings featuring military camps are extant and will be discussed later, but none match the one sold in 1784.
Then there are those de Bar paintings sold in the eighteenth century that, while having only generic descriptions of their subjects, nonetheless have very specific measurements—allowing the possibility that some day they might be linked with extant pictures. One example is a set of vertical pendants (a rare format for de Bar) sold in 1777 from the collection of Monsieur Trudaine, a Conseilleur d’État: “Two rustic subjects. One shows a dance, and the other a concert. These two pretty pictures are painted on canvas. Height 19 pouces [51.5 cm], width 24 pouces [65 cm].52
A pair of horizontal pendants can be traced to a sale in 1785: “Two paintings by de Bar, a student and contemporary of Watteau. One shows a Country Dance and the other a Collation. These two paintings are very pleasant, and decorated with many figures. Width 15 pouces [41 cm], height 11 pouces [29.8 cm]. On panel.”53 A de Bar painting in this genre, almost the same size but on canvas, sold in 1809: “Rustic Amusements. Composition in the style of Watteau. Height 15 pouces [41 cm], Width 12 pouces [32.5 cm]. On canvas.”54 Presumably these are two different sets of pictures.
The few remaining references to de Bar paintings in eighteenth-century French sales are to fêtes galantes whose descriptions are frustratingly generic and no measurements are given, so that it seems unlikely that we will ever be able to identify them with any greater specificity, much less link them with extant works. As was already mentioned, the Comtesse de Verrue was one of the painter’s chief admirers in his lifetime. She owned six pictures by him:
“Two others [paintings by Pater] in the same taste by Desbarres.”
“A painting in the manner of Pater and Lancret by Desbarres.”
“Two small paintings by Desbarres in the style of Watteau.”
“A Village Festival by Desbarres.”55
These could well be paintings that reappeared in later eighteenth-century sales but it is impossible to know.
Also lacking both a description and measurements, and therefore almost impossible to ever identify is a work sold in 1779 by the dealer Aucun. It was described just as “A French fête, de Bar, disciple of Watteau.”56
|12. Bonaventure de Bar, The Village Wedding, 64.8 x 90.2 cm. Whereabouts unknown.||13. Detail of fig. 12|
Finally, there are several extant de Bar paintings that deserve consideration. The first is a very important picture that can be documented to the eighteenth century, although the documentation itself is highly problematic. The painting in question depicts a village wedding, with the signing of the wedding contract tucked into the right corner (figs. 12-13). The rest of the canvas is devoted to the great throngs attending the ceremony. The dimensions of this picture are slightly smaller than those of de Bar’s morceau de réception, but its repertoire of more than eighty characters and the elaborate landscape are noteworthy. We cannot be sure who the original owner was, but by the 1770s the painting was in Belgium, in the collection of Duke Charles Léopold d’Arenberg. At that time it was engraved by Antoine Cardon the Elder (1732-1822) with the unfortunate caption “Antoine Watteau pinxit.” The picture remained in the Arenberg family’s collection until after World War II.57
|14. Antoine Watteau, La Mariée de village, 65 x 92 cm. Potsdam, Schloss Sanssouci.||15. Antoine Watteau, L'Accordée de village, 63 x 92 cm. London, Sir John Soane's Museum.|
In 1910, when the picture was included in a major exhibition of French eighteenth-century art in Berlin, most scholars accepted the attribution to Watteau.58 Indeed, not only was there the evidence of Cardon’s print, but also the composition is related to two of Watteau’s most elaborate compositions, La Mariée de village in Schloss Sanssouci, Potsdam, and L’Accordée de Village, now in Sir John Soane’s Museum, London (figs. 14, 15). The former emphasizes the arrival of the multitude of wedding guests in a large space before the church, and the latter depicts the actual signing of the wedding agreement before the town notary. Corroborating the attribution to Watteau at the time, Thoré-Bürger claimed to have discovered in the Arenberg archives a receipt for payment signed by Watteau; that document has since been proven to be unrelated to the de Bar painting.59 As should be evident, while the overall composition may owe much to Watteau, the style of the painting has little to with the master, and except for a few twentieth-century scholars such as Pilon, Alvin-Beaumont, Kunstler, Adhémar, and Roland Michel, the work has sensibly been expunged from Watteau’s oeuvre.60 Indeed, as early as the middle of the nineteenth century, there were demurs. Clément de Ris, for example, thought that the Arenberg picture was only a weak copy of the painting engraved by Cardon, but that was probably because he presumed that the original had been by painted by Watteau and he sensed that the Arenberg picture was not by him.61 Since then, alternate names have been bandied about. In 1910, Richard Graul proposed the name of Pater, and this idea was continued by Louis Gillet, the authors of the 1968 Royal Academy exhibition on France in the Eighteenth Century, as well as Macchia and Montagni.62 At the same time, starting with Émile Dacier and Jacques Hérold in 1929, de Bar’s name was put forth.63 This idea was followed by Rey, Jacques Mathey, Jean Ferré, and myself.64 Some scholars have recognized that the painting is not by Watteau but have preferred not to name the specific artist to whom it should be credited.65 Given this disarray of opinions, it is not surprising that when the painting recently came up at auction, it was once again given to Pater.66
The relationship between de Bar’s painting and the two Watteau compositions he emulated merits closer attention. In the early eighteenth century, La Mariée de Village belonged to de Bar’s patron, Leriget de la Faye. Presumably its counterpart was also there, and this would explain how de Bar knew these two works, especially since neither of them had yet been engraved.67 Moreover, the size of de Bar’s painting matches those two Watteau canvases. Yet, except perhaps for the figure of the notary posed with his pen in the air, de Bar did not copy Watteau’s specific characters. He freely adapted the Italianate architecture of La Mariée de village but, not following Watteau’s rendering of a specific Roman site—buildings near Giacomo Vignola’s Sant’ Andrea on the via Flaminia—de Bar turned it into an architectural fantasy, a generic structure with side wings and a dome topped by an awkwardly large annular ring. De Bar captured the spirit of Watteau’s paintings without depending on his specific inventions.
Individual figures within the Arenberg painting bind this work to de Bar’s oeuvre. The bride dressed in white, the young girl at her side pulling her mantle over her head, and the young man who sits are her feet have their counterparts in other de Bar fête galantes such as his morceau de réception in the Louvre and a painting in the Blaffer Foundation (figs. 2, 16). The seigneur at the left of the composition conjures up his younger counterpart in the Louvre painting. A simplified version of the buildings in the Arenberg painting, now even further removed from Watteau’s original conception, appears in the Amiens Village Fête (fig. 17). Such small but important details help establish the Arenberg painting within de Bar’s corpus.
|16. Bonaventure de Bar, A Country Fête, 19.7 x 29.3 cm. Houston, Museum of Fine Arts, Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation.|
Of all the many other extant fêtes galantes which have been assigned to de Bar, only a very few are actually by him. One painting which has an excellent claim is a charming, very small fête galante owned by the Blaffer Foundation (fig. 16). It surfaced in 1955 in the collection of Mrs. Randal Plunkett of Dunsany Castle in Ireland.68 Expectably, it was then attributed to Pater and remained under that name until Alastair Laing recognized that it was by de Bar. Indeed, there is no mistaking de Bar’s hand here. It has been said that the figures in the Blaffer painting are identical to those at the center of the Louvre Village Fair (fig. 2), and that this small painting “must be either a study related to the development of the larger composition or a replica of its central motif.”69 This perhaps overstates the case, since the only two figures that the two works share are the woman with the cape over her head and her female companion. But this correspondence alone helps assure the attribution of the Blaffer painting to de Bar.
|17. Bonaventure de Bar, Village Fête, c. 1720-30, 64.7 x 82.3 cm. Amiens, Musée de Picardie (photo: Musée de Picardie – Marc Jeanneteau)|
Another painting with a good claim to being by de Bar is in the Musée de Picardie, Amiens (fig. 17). When the painting came to public attention in the mid-nineteenth century, it belonged to Madame Gaudefroy du Roisel of Amiens and, as might be expected, it was ascribed to Watteau. Yet when it was shown in an exhibition at the Amiens Hôtel de Ville in 1860, the critic Alfred Darcel attributed it to de Bar.70 Nonetheless, it entered the Amiens museum under Watteau’s name in 1929. Rey mistakenly argued that it should be given to François Octavien.71 Lesage reasserted the attribution to de Bar, but in 2000 and again in 2006 it was classified with the cautionary caveat “attributed to” de Bar, although it was noted that both I and Pierre Rosenberg also thought that an attribution to him was appropriate.72 The close stylistic correspondence between this work and established paintings by de Bar, especially the Country Dance (fig. 5), leave little doubt as to the authorship of the picture in Amiens.
|18. Bonaventure de Bar, A Military Encampment, 24 x 32 cm. Whereabouts unknown.||19. Bonaventure de Bar, A Military Encampment, 24 x 32 cm. Whereabouts unknown.|
|20. Jean Baptiste Pater, A Military Encampment, 62.9 x 76.2 cm. Whereabouts unknown.|
As was already noted, a de Bar painting showing a scene of traveling military provisioners was sold at auction in 1784. Although this specific work cannot be traced, there are three pictures by our artist that show soldiers relaxing in the provisioners’ camps. A pair of small pendants that were still attributed to Pater in the 1950s, were rightly recognized to be works by de Bar in the 1980s and ‘90s (figs. 18-19).73 Curiously, they have not entered recent discussions about the artist. Watteau painted several compositions like this, such as L’Alte, and Pater, more so than Lancret, made countless variations on this type of scene (fig. 20).74
|21. Bonaventure de Bar, A Military Encampment, 41.9 x 63.5 cm. Amiens, Musée de Picardie (photo: Musée de Picardie – Marc Jeanneteau).|
Also to be considered is a painting in the Musée de Picardie, Amiens, which shows a similar scene of soldiers, women, and children in a military camp (fig. 21). Although it is the same size as de Bar’s Village Fête in that museum, is not its pendant. The attribution of the Amiens painting has veered in a number of directions over the course of the twentieth century.75 In 1890, when the Lavalard brothers donated it to the museum, it was classified as an anonymous work of the eighteenth century. Then opinion swayed in all directions: it was given to Lancret, an attribution that does not bear scrutiny; once it was improbably assigned to the young Watteau; it was rejected as not even being an eighteenth-century painting; but most often it has been given to Pater or his circle. Yet it clearly is not by Pater or his students, and the museum’s present classification as “suite de Pater” is misleading. The faces of the women, for example, have little to do with Pater, but they are closely related to those in de Bar’s fêtes galantes.These differences of opinion remind us of the still undefined terrain surrounding Watteau’s so-called satellites.
This survey of de Bar’s works establishes his artistic identity. As should now be evident, he had a consistent, recognizable style and his works were accomplished. However, the eighteenth-century auction catalogues suggest that already by the 1750s he was not particularly well remembered, not even to the experts. All that Mariette had to report was that de Bar was an “imitateur de la manière de Watteau.”76 Dézallier d'Argenville mentioned de Bar among Hallé's pupils, writing only that he was a "peintre à talent."77 Similarly, the auction catalogues used tellingly generic phrases such as “dans le goût de Vatteau,” “dans le genre de Watteau,” “elève de Watteau,” “elève & contemporain de Watteau,” “dans le style de Vatteau,” and “à l’imitation de Watteau.” This unanimity is understandable since, after all, Watteau’s superiority established a benchmark by which all other aspiring artists in this genre were measured. Nowhere in these accounts is there a glimpse de Bar’s personality, not even a mention of his tragically short life, nor is there any special insight into his career. It would seem that they knew little save what they could deduce from his paintings, namely that he followed in the wake of Watteau.
Yet de Bar did not start painting until after Watteau died, and only occasionally, as in the ex-Arenberg Village Wedding, did he even try to imitate Watteau. Certainly the tenor of de Bar’s characters –the gently smiling faces and lighthearted mood--are at a remove from Watteau’s poetic mystery. Judging de Bar’s oeuvre on the basis of the works we have assembled here, a better analogy would be between his paintings and those by Watteau’s chief pupil, Jean Baptiste Pater. The two artists were close contemporaries (Pater was only five years older than de Bar) and both flourished in the 1720s. It is easy to understand why the de Bar pendants from the Gros collection were praised with the telling phrase “aussi estimables que deux Pater.” Nor is it surprising that for the last hundred years extant examples of de Bar’s works have often been misclassified under Pater’s name. The artists’ works are united by a lighthearted charm, smiling faces, elongated bodies, and fluttering drapery. Some of the Watteau-inspired themes that de Bar chose, such as the fortune teller and military encampments, are ones which Pater also frequently selected. Did de Bar intentionally emulate Pater or was it simply a generational relationship, the sort of relationship one could expect between two contemporaries? That is certainly an intriguing question.
De Bar will never be considered an artist of the first order. Although pleasing, he was not an innovative painter, but then he barely had the necessary time to mature and develop. Indeed, because his career was so exceedingly short, lasting less than a decade, and his output was correspondingly small, he is condemned to remain a secondary figure. Yet knowing what he created is valuable, not only in itself but also because it helps chart the development of French art in the years immediately after the death of Watteau.
1 I am very grateful to the staff of the Frick Art Reference Library, New York, whose extraordinary cooperation made this study possible. I am indebted as well to Burton Fredericksen for his invaluable expertise on eighteenth-sale catalogues. Lastly, I once again thank Seth Gopin for his technical expertise and great patience in enabling this study to appear online.
2 Robert Rey, Quelques satellites de Watteau (Paris: 1931). De Bar is considered on pp. 135-58.
3 Antony Valabrègue, “Bonaventure de Bar (1700-1729,” La Chronique des arts et de la curiosité (December 23, 1905), 335-36; (December 30, 1905), 343-45.
4 George Huard, “Debar,” in Louis Dimier, ed., Les peintres français du XVIIIe siècle, 2 vols. (Paris and Brussels: 1928-30), 1: 295-300.
5 Karl T. Parker, “Mercier, Angélis and De Bar,” Old Master Drawings, 7 (December 1932), 36-40.
6 The entries on de Bar in standard biographical dictionaries are, at best, uncritical compilations of works on the market that have been attributed to him. See “Bar,” in Ulrich Thieme and Felix Becker, eds., Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler, 37 vols. (Leipzig: 1907-1950), 2: 450; Carsten Roth, “De Bar,” in Allgemeines Künstler-Lexikon (Munich and Leipzig: K.G. Saur, 1992), 25; “Bar,” in Benezit, Dictionary of Art, 14 vols. (Paris: 2006), 1: 1094.
7 Marianne Roland Michel, Watteau, un artiste du dixhuitième siècle (Paris: 1984), 301-02.
8 Guillaume Glorieux, “Une Ensemble de décors peints par Bonaventure de Bar,” Revue de l’art, 150 (2005), 51. As will be seen in the second part of my study, I believe that his attribution of the murals to de Bar is moot and that the three outright copies after Lancret cited by him are merely the work of anonymous copyists.
9 Procès-verbaux de l’Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, 1648-1793, 10 vols. (Paris: 1875-92), 5: 47.
10 Ibid., 5: 63.
11 Ibid., 4: 320.
12 Ibid., 4: 355.
13 Ibid., 5: 47.
14 Ibid., 5: 47-48, 51-53.
15 Philippe de Chennevières and Anatole de Montaiglon, eds., “Abecedario et autres notes inédites de cet amateur sur les arts et les artistes,” Archives de l’art français, 2 (1851), 357.
16 Ibid., 5: 63.
17 For his morceau de réception, see Les Peintres du Roi, 1648-1793, exh. cat. (Tours: Musée des Beaux-Arts, 2000), 257, cat. no. 232; also Martin Eidelberg and Patrick Ramade, eds., Watteau et la fête galante, exh. cat. (Valenciennes: Musée des Beaux-Arts, 2004), cat. no. 26.
18 Sale, Paris, April 13f, 1778, Jean Antoine Gros collection, lot 44: “De Bar. Deux jolis Pendans. Dans l’un on voit une femme qui danse au son d’une musette. Deux femmes & un homme assis la regardent. Dans le lointain, l’on apperçoit deux autres figures en plan coupé, sur la droite & derriere le groupe principal, est un pied d’estal sur lequel est un Lion masqué par des masses d’arbres.
L’autre offre une Dame vêtue d’une jupe de satin blanc & d’un mantelet rouge, les yeux attachés sur un jeune garçon qui apporte des raffraichissemens. Derriere elle est un jeune homme appuyé sur sa chaise. Sur le second plan & dans le coin à droite du tableau, sont un homme & une femme. Derriere le groupe principal & sur un pied d’estal, est une Statue de Venus couchée, demi-cachée par une masse d’arbres. Ces deux tableaux, d’une touche fine & légere, sont aussi estimables que deux Pater. H. 7 pouc. larg. 10 pouc. B.” The pedants sold for 406 livres to Langlier.
19 See Procès-verbaux de l’Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, 4: 406.
20 Sale, Paris, April 19f, 1786 (postponed until May 3f), M. Mxxx [Morelle], lot 150: “De Bas [sic]. Deux jolis Pendans, dans l’un on voit une femme qui danse au son d’une musette, deux femmes & un homme assis la regardent; l’on y voit encore d’autres figures en plan coupé: l’autre offer un repas champêtre composé de cinq figures: ces deux Tableaux sont d’une touche fine & légere. Ils viennent de la vente de M. le Gros, no. 44. Hauteur 7 pouces, largeur 10 pouces. B.” The pair sold for 300 livres.
21 Sale, Paris, November 15f, 1791, Artaud and Rebes [or de Ribe] collections, lot 106: “De Bars. Deux jolis petits tableaux: dans l’un on voit une femme qui danse au son d’une musette, deux femmes et un homme assis la regardent, près d’eux sont d’autres personages vus en plan coupé; l’autre représente un repas champêtre, composé de cinq figures: ces deux morceaux sont d’une touche finie et légère. Ils viennent de la vente de M. Legros, no. 44 du catalogue. -- Hauteur, 7 pouces; largeur, 10 pouces. B.” The pair sold for 240 livres.
22 The peregrinations of this painting are lengthy: sale, London, Christie’s, June 18, 1887, William, Earl of Lonsdale collection, lot 866 (as Watteau); Thomas Agnew & Sons, London; Edward Cecil Guiness, 1st Earl of Iveagh; sale, London, Christie’s, July 10, 1953, Arthur Ernest Guiness collection, lot 67 (as Pater here and in all following instances); London, Arthur Tooth & Sons; London, Thomas Agnew & Sons; New York, M. Knoedler & Sons in partnership with Pinakos Ltd.; San Francisco, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Jacob Stern Loan Collection; New York, Valerian Stuy-Rybar collection; New York, M. Knoedler & Co.; Los Angeles, Henry T. Mudd collection; New York, Richard L. Feigen & Co.; Norton Simon Foundation as of 1970.
See also Les Fêtes galantes, exh. cat. (Richmond, VA.: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 1956) (as Pater); Héritage de France, 1610-1760, exh. cat. (Montreal: Museum of Fine Arts, 1961), cat. no. 58 (as Pater); Three Centuries of French Art, Selections from the Norton Simon, Inc. Museum of Art and the Norton Simon Foundation, exh. cat. (San Francisco: The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1973), cat. no. 8 (as Pater); Sara Campbell, Collector without Walls, Norton Simon and his Hunt for the Best (New Haven and London: 2010), 330, cat. no. 712 (as Pater).
23 Eidelberg and Ramade, Watteau et la fête galante, 275.
24 Sale, Paris, March 30f, 1785, lot 9: “Deux Tableaux, dont un de Bar, Eleve de Watteau, représentant une Fête champêtre… Hauteur 24 pouces, largeur 30.”
25 In the 1785 sale, the artist is described as a “contemporain de Vander Meulen.” Robert Bonnart specialized in military scenes and his works were generally compared with Adam van der Meulen; see, e.g., sale, Paris, March 21, 1763, lot 26.
26 Sale, Paris, January 22f, 1787, collection of “an artist,” lot 238: “Un Tableau de Debare, représentant un Bal champêtre, sur le devant d’un paysage. Hauteur 24 pouces, largeur 32 pouces. T.”
27 Sale, Paris, February 20, 1797, lot 81: “Debar. Un bal champêtre composé de 26 figures formant des groupes variés & agréables. Ce tableau doit être regardé comme l’un des plus capitaux de ce maître, qui réunit l’esprit & la couleur de Watteau. Haut.r 24 po. larg.r 30. T.” It sold for 65 livres to Malraet or Malret.
28 L’Art au XVIIIe siècle, exh. cat. (Paris: Galerie Georges Petit, 1883), cat. no. 116.
29 Sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, February 12, 1892, Vicomtesse de Redmond collection, lot 1.
30 Valabrègue, “Bonaventure de Bar,” 344. Accordingly, the painting was also cited by Huard, “Bonaventure de Bar,” 299, and by Rey, Quelques satellites de Watteau, 149, both of whom accepted the attribution to de Bar.
31 Ernst Zimmerman, Watteau (Stuttgart and Leipzig: 1911), 39.
32 Georges Wildenstein, Lancret (Paris: 1924), cat. no. 408.
33 Hélène Adhémar and René Huyghe, Watteau, sa vie—son oeuvre (Paris: 1950), cat. no. 233
34 See Jacques Mathey, Antoine Watteau, peintures réapparues (Paris: 1959), 19. For Carritt’s opinion, see the entry in the 1997 sale catalogue cited below. Giovanni Macchia and Ettore C. Montagni, L’opera completa di Watteau (Milan: 1968), 124, cat. no. 2-F, placed the painting under “other works attributed to Watteau” but did not suggest a specific attribution.
35 Sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, June 23, 1997, lot 23; Matthieu Pinette, Peintures françaises des XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles des musées d’Amiens (Paris: 2006), 56, accepts the attribution to de Bar.
36 Sale, Paris, April 9-12, 1781, lot 95: “De Bar. Une Journée champêtre. L’on voit huit figures d’hommes & de femmes dans un jardin & près d’une rivière, parmis lesquels les uns collationnent & les autres font de la musique. Hauteur 20 pouces. Largeur 25 pouces T.”
37 La Douceur de vivre, exh. cat. (Paris: Galerie Berneim Jeune, 1948), cat. no. 4; Michel Florisoone, La Peinture française, le XVIIIe siècle (Paris: 1948), fig. 37; Landscape in French Art, exh. cat. (London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1949), cat. no. 110; Watteau et sa generation, exh. cat. (Paris: Galerie Cailleux, 1968), cat. no. 126.
38 Sale, Paris, May 25-26, 1818, Ruelle, Simon, Descat, and others’ collections, lot 87: “B. Desbarres. Scènes pastorales dans un paysage et à l’imitation de Wateau. Ces deux tableaux forment pendans. l. 17, h. 14. T.”
39 E.g., Les Fêtes galantes, exh. cat. (Richmond, VA: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts) (as Pater). Ironically, the small de Bar painting from the Norton Simon Museum was also in this exhibition and listed under Pater’s name.
40 See the note written by Alastair Laing on November 7, 1990, now in the curatorial files of the Walters Art Museum; also Eidelberg and Ramade, Watteau et la fête galante, 275.
41 Sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, March 23, 1929, collection of Monsieur de C…., lot 5; Leger Galleries, New York; sale, New York, Christie’s, June 24, 1988, lot 58.
42 See Rouen, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Guide (Rouen: 1994), 253.
43 Sale, Paris, December 10-16, 1778, Jean Baptiste Pierre Lebrun collection, lot 112: “De Bar. L’intérieur d’un jardin pittoresque, sur le devant duquel on voit un jeune homme qui court au-devant d’une demoiselle qui s’est laissé tomber. Plus loin sont un homme & une femme assis près d’une fontaine au bas de laquelle s’offrent des cignes. Le lointain est terminé par un petit bois où l’on decouvre deux figures. H. 24 po. larg. 18 po. T.”
44 Sale, Paris, December 18f, 1766, Madame Hayes collection, lot 52: “Différens personages à table, un homme en habit de paysan & une Allemande qui dansent, un Viellard joue de la vielle. Ce Tableau est peint par de Barre, sur une toile, de 16 pouces de haut sur 20 de large.”
45 Sale, Versailles, January 4f, 1779, Aucun collection, lot 31: “La Diseuse de Bonne-Aventure, par de Bar.”
46 For compositions by Watteau with this theme, see Margaret Morgan Grasselli and Pierre Rosenberg, eds., Watteau 1684-1721, exh. cat. (Washington: National Gallery of Art, 1984), 258-61, cat. no. P8. For paintings by Pater, see Florence Ingersoll-Smouse, Pater (Paris: 1928), cat. nos. 505-518.
47 A Fortune Teller attributed to de Bar was sold Amsterdam, Christie’s, May 11, 1994, lot 128. However, the painting is only an anonymous copy after Pater.
48 Sale, Paris, December 1-29, 1779, collection abbé de Gévigney, lot 551: “De Barre. Un Sujet de cinq Figures de caractere de la Scène Italienne, artistement peint dans le genre de Watteau, avec un joli fond de Paysage. Toile. H. 37, l. 29.” The painting sold for 74 livres 19.
49 Sale, Paris, November 26-27, 1779, lot 17: “Un Tableau peint sur toile par de Bare. Il représente une Bergere endormie dans un Paysage. H. 8 po. largeur 14.” The painting sold for 8 livres 16.
50 Sale, Paris, November 4, 1784, Aucun collection, lot 117: “Une Bergère qui dort par le même [de Barre], sur toile.”
51 Sale, Paris, November 4f, 1784, Aucun collection, lot 116: “Une marche de Vivandiers, par de Barre.”
52 Sale, Paris, December 20-24, 1777, Trudaine collection, lot 20 bis: “De Bar. Deux sujets champêtres, l’un représente une danse, & l’autre un concert: ces deux jolis tableaux sont peints sur toile. Hauteur 19 pouces, largeur 24 pouc.” The painting sold for 210 livres to Le Bel.
53 Sale, Paris, March 30f, 1785, lot 22: “Deux Tableaux de Bar, Elève & contemporain de Watteau, l’un représente un Bal champêtre, & l’autre une Collation. Ces deux Tableaux sont très-agréables, & ornés de plusieurs figures. 15 pouces de large, sur 11 pouces de haut. B.”
54 Sale, Paris, October 16f, 1809, lot 32: “Desbarres. Les Amusemens champêtres. Composition dans le style de Vatteau. Haut. 15 p., larg. 12 p. Toile.”
55 Sale, Paris, March 27f, 1737, comtesse de Verrue collection (following the manuscript version in the Frick Art Reference Library, New York): lot 16 (third day): “barres. Deux autre [tableaux de Pater] dans le meme gout”; lot 41 (sixth day): “desbarres. un tableaux dans la maniere de pater et de lancret” (sold for 201 livres 5); lot 170 (eighth day): “desbarres. Deux petits Tableaux dans le gout de vatteau” (sold for 166 livres); lot 172 (eighth day) “desbarres. un Tableaux rept une fête de vilage.” Glorieux, “Une Ensemble de décors peints par Bonaventure de Bar,” 52, writes that the comtesse de Verrue owned four painting by de Bar, but two lots were pairs of paintings, thus bringing the total six pictures.
56 Sale, Paris, June 2f, 1779, Poisemenut and other collections, lot 64: “Une fête Françoise, de Bar, Disciple de Watteau.”
57 E.g., Willy Bürger [Thoré-Bürger], Galerie d’Arenberg à Bruxelles avec le catalogue complet de la collection (1859), 108-09, 177, cat. no. 109; idem, Revue universelle des arts, 8 (1858-59), 532f, cat. no. 109.
58 Exposition d’oeuvres de l’art français, exh. cat. (Berlin: Preussische Akademie der Künste, 1910) cat. no. 156.
59 For the supposed receipt from Watteau, see Édouard Laloire, “Une quittance signée de Watteau,” Revue belge de philologie et d’histoire, 1 (1922) 116-18; also Émile Dacier, Albert Vuaflart, and Jacques Hérold, Jean de Jullienne et les graveurs de Watteau au XVIIIe siècle, 4 vols. (Paris: 1921-29), 1: 75-79. If the 1717 receipt is genuine, then clearly it could not have been for the Village Wedding by de Bar nor could it have been for two Pater paintings in the Arenberg collection that were similarly engraved by Cardon with an incorrect attribution to Watteau. How is one to understand the receipt? Did Watteau sell the duke two otherwise unrecorded paintings? Or is the receipt specious?
60 Edmond Pilon, Watteau et son école (Brussels and Paris: 1924), 79-80; Victor Alvin-Beaumont, Autour de Watteau (Paris: 1932), 10, 30-34, 48-54; Charles Kunstler, Watteau l’enchanteur (Paris: 1936), 69-70; Adhémar and Huyghe, Watteau, sa vie-son oeuvre, cat. no. 52, where the painting is listed as “disappeared”; Roland Michel, Watteau, 213.
61 L. Clément de Ris, “Le Musée de Madrid,” L’Artiste, n.s. 6 (January 30, 1859), 76. De Ris adds to the confusion by misidentifying the engraver as Cochin.
62 Richard Graul, “Die französischer Kunstausstellung der Berliner Akademie,” Cicerone 2 (February 25, 1910), 116; Louis Gillet, Un Grand maître du XVIIIe siècle, Watteau (Paris: 1921), 43; France in the Eighteenth Century, exh. cat. (London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1968), cat. no. 543 (where it was deemed “too accomplished” to be by de Bar); Macchia and Montagni, L’opera completa di Watteau, cat. no. 62. The work seems not to be cited in Ingersoll-Smouse, Pater.
63 Dacier, Vuaflart, and Hérold, Jean de Jullienne et les graveurs de Watteau au XVIIIe siècle, 1: 78-79, 174, 265; 3: 123, cat. no. 292. In the third volume, which appeared in 1921, the painting was given to Watteau, but then in volume 1, which appeared in 1929, the attribution was changed to de Bar.
64 Rey, Quelques satellites de Watteau, 141-42, repeats Dacier and Hérold’s attribution, and seems to accept that thesis. See also Mathey, Antoine Watteau, peintures réapparues, 19; Jean Ferré, Watteau, 4 vols. (Madrid: 1972), 1: 79; Eidelberg and Ramade, Watteau et la fête galante, 275. Glorieux, “Une Ensemble de décors peints par Bonaventure de Bar,” 51, claims that in 1728 [sic] de Bar painted a copy of Watteau’s La Mariée de village but, curiously, he does not link that work with the extant painting.
65 Donald Posner, Antoine Watteau (Ithaca: 1984), 21-22, 34, 123 (as by an imitator of Watteau); Grasselli and Rosenberg, Watteau 1684-1721, 267, 270 (as probably not by Watteau); Eidelberg, “Watteau’s Italian Reveries,” Gazette des Beaux-Arts, ser. 6, 126 (October 1995), 135 note 46 (as not by Watteau).
66 New York, Sotheby’s, January 30, 1997, lot 104.
67 The engraving of La Mariée de village was not announced for sale until March 1729, just five months before de Bar’s death. The engraving of L’Accordée de village was not issued until 1735; see Dacier, Vuaflart, and Hérold, Jean de Jullienne et les graveurs de Watteau au XVIIIe siècle, 3: 57-58, cat. no. 116. When the engraving after L’Accordée de village was announced in 1735, it was said that the picture (owned then by Jean de Jullienne) “fait pendant à celui du même auteur [Watteau], qui est dans le Cabinet de la Ctesse de Verrüe.” It seems reasonable to presume that the two pendants were originally together.
68 See sale, London, Sotheby’s, February 23, 1955, lot 142; also European Works of Art, exh. cat. (New York: Rosenberg and Stiebel, 1981), 8.
69 George T.M. Shackelford, “Genre Painting: Comedy and Commonplace,” in Masterpieces of Baroque Painting from the Collection of the Sarah Campbell Scott Foundation, exh. cat. (Houston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1992), 65.
70 Alfred Darcel, "Exposition d'art et d'archéologie à Amiens," Gazette de Beaux-Arts, s.2, 7 (July 1860), 43.
71 Rey, Quelques satellites de Watteau, 146.
72 See Jean-Claude Lesage, Oeuvres méconnues de peintres français du XVIIIème siècle au Musée de Picardie – Amiens, maîtrise, Université de Lille III, 1978, 32-33; Matthieu Pinette, From the Sun King to the Royal Twilight, Painting in Eighteenth-Century France from the Musée de Picardie, Amiens, exh. cat. (New York: American Federation of the Arts, 2000), cat. no. 9; idem, Peintures françaises des XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles des musées d’Amiens, 56-57. Recently, Glorieux, “Un Ensemble de décors peints par Bonaventure de Bar,” 51-52, accepted the attribution to de Bar.
73 The pendants were formerly in the collection of Arthur Veil-Picard, Paris; see European Masters of the Eighteenth Century, exh. cat. (London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1954) cat. nos. 233-34 (as Pater); sale, London, Sotheby’s, July 6, 1988, lot 140 (as de Bar here and all subsequent references); with Matthiesen Gallery, London, 1988; with Galerie Marcus, Paris, c. 1989; sale, Paris, Hôtel Georges V, March 27, 1995, lot 470.
74 E.g., Ingersoll-Smouse, Pater, cat. nos. 397-446; Wildenstein, Lancret, cat. nos. 521, 523.
75 Catalogue des tableaux composant la collection Lavalard Frères de Roye au Musée de Picardie, Amiens (Amiens: 1894), cat. no. 205 (as French school, 18th century); Catalogue descriptif des tableaux et sculptures du Musée de Picardie (Amiens: 1899), cat. no. 162 (as Lancret); Catalogue descriptif des tableaux et sculptures du Musée de Picardie (Amiens: 1911), cat no. 159 (as Lancret); Wildenstein, Lancret, cat. no. 522 (as not by Lancret); Ingersoll-Smouse, Pater, cat. no. 419 bis (as not an eighteenth-century work); Amédée Boinet, Le Musée d’Amiens, Musée de Picardie, Peintures (Paris: 1928), 15, 42 (as Pater); Cinq siècles de peinture française, exh. cat. (Amiens: Musée de Picardie et al, 1960), cat. no. 9; Jacques Foucart, Les Lavalards (Amiens: 1977), 45 (as French school, eighteenth century); Lesage, Oeuvres méconnues de peintres français du XVIIIème siècle au Musée de Picardie – Amiens, 141-42 (as Pater); Pinette, From the Sun King to Royal Twilight, cat. no. 8 (as attributed to de Bar); Glorieux, “Un Ensemble de décors peints par Bonaventure de Bar,” 51-52 (as de Bar); Pinette, Peintures françaises des XVIIe et XVIIIe sièces des musées d’Amiens, 54-55 (as follower of Pater).
76 Chennevières and Montaiglon, Abecedario de P.J. Mariette, 357. Moreover, Mariette did not grant de Bar a vita of his own but, rather, mentioned him only in passing while writing about Chardin.
77 Antoine Joseph Dézallier d'Argenville, Abrégé de la vie des plus fameux peintres, 3 vols. (Paris 1745-52), 2: 382.