NEW YORK – Christie’s announces the rediscovery of a major addition to the small canon of paintings by the French master, Antoine Watteau. Le Pelerinage a l’Ile de Cythere is larger in scale than most of Watteau’s paintings, audacious in its sweeping and panoramic conception of landscape, and bold in its quick and fluent brushwork. The painting provides a crucial, previously unknown stage in the creation of the artist’s most celebrated masterpiece, The Embarkation to Cythera, in the Louvre Museum in Paris and will be offered as part of Christie’s Old Masters sale on January 25 in New York.
The picture in question was cataloged in detail in a number of 18th-century collections and sales clearly identified as a work by Watteau by people who were contemporaries or near-contemporaries of the artist. During the 19th century, the attribution was lost. Now, the picture has been reattributed to Watteau.
The contemporaneous attributions to Watteau are further supported by recent and extensive scientific examination, which has revealed, among other details, that the painting was created using Watteau’s distinctive methods using materials consistent in age and type with his work. The present painting will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonne of Watteau’s paintings by Alan Wintermute.