France, ca. 1730
This painting was part of the Collection of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia (1740-1786), who was a great admirer of Lancret and had over twenty-six of his paintings.
Probably executed in the early 1730s, this work has stylistic similarities with Dance between the pavilion and the fountain (1732) and Dance before a tree (1730-35), both belonging to the Castle of Charlottenburg in Berlin. A study for the reclining male figure on the left of the composition, from the mid-1720s, can be seen at the Ackland Art Museum, North Carolina.
Introduced into France by Claude Gillot (1673-1722), Fête Galante, a generic designation which is also used as the title of the work, consists of a type of representation of refined outdoor scenes depicting elegant-looking people in a pleasant mundane gathering. The figures are arranged scenographically in the space, a result of the influence of theatre on this type of representation.
Frederick II, King of Prussia; Imperial German Family; Neues Palais, Potsdam, 1923. Bought through Hans Stiebel, Berlin, on January 9th, 1930.
64.5 x 69.5 cm
Wildenstein, Georges, Lancret, Paris, 1924, no. 333, p. 93
European Paintings from the Gulbenkian Collection (exhibition catalogue), National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1950, no. 20, pp. 50-51
New York 1999
Only the Best: Masterpieces of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, (exhibition catalogue), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1999, no. 43, pp. 90-91
Sampaio, Luísa, Pintura no Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, 2009, no. 27, pp. 74-75