About This Artwork

Jean Antoine Watteau
French, 1684-1721

Two Studies of a Dancer, Raising Her Skirt in Her Two Hands, 1712/13

Red chalk on cream laid paper
176 x 133 mm
Inscribed, lower left, in brown ink: "Wattau"

Regenstein Collection Endowment, 2002.100

The Art Institute boasts a small but choice selection of drawings by Antoine Watteau. This early example of his virtuoso draftsmanship in red chalk reflects his intimate knowledge of elegant materials and costumes, made famous in his print series the Figures de modes (Figures of Fashion). The spontaneity of the artist’s method is suggested in the pentimenti (changes to the composition) in the woman’s face.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, "Watteau, 1684-1721," June 17-September 23, 1984, pp. 81, 337 (ill.), and 339; traveled to Paris, Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, October 23, 1984-January 28, 1985; and Berlin, Château de Charlottenbourg, February 22-May 26, 1985.

Art Institute of Chicago, "Master Drawings Unveiled: 25 Years of Major Acquisitions," August 27, 2016–January 29, 2017, no cat.

Publication History

Edmond de Goncourt, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, dessiné et gravé d'Antoine Watteau (Paris, 1875), p. 345.

K.T. Parker and J. Mathey, Antoine Watteau, catalogue complet de son oeuvre dessiné, 1 (Paris, 1957), no. 29 (ill.).

Donald Posner, Antoine Watteau (London, 1984), pp. 258 and 290, note 56.

Margaret Morgan Grasselli, The Drawings of Antoine Watteau: Stylistic Development and Problems of Chronology (Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., 1987), p. 36, note 27, pp. 181-82, 193 and 215, no. 91, fig. 178.

Pierre Rosenberg and Louis Antoine Prat, Antoine Watteau, catalogue raisonné des dessins, 1 (Milan, 1996), pp. 292-93, no. 185 (ill.).

Galerie de la Scala, Dessins et Tableaux 1500-1900 (Paris, 2001), n.p., no. 8 (ill.).

Art and Antiques 25:10 (November 2002), p. 87 (ill.).

Ownership History

Marie Joseph François Mahérault (1795-1879); sold, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, May 27-29, 1880, Mahérault sale, lot 289. Léon Michel-Lévy (1846-1925); sold, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, June 17-18, 1925, Michel-Lévy sale, lot 117, to Dewur [annotated sale catalogue]. Possibly Mrs. John Dewar, London [it is possible that the name in the annotated sale catalogue was spelled phonetically]. Mme. Firino-Martel, Paris, by 1957 [Parker and Mathey 1957]. Sold, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, December 18, 1991, lot 5. Sold, Bordeaux, December 17, 1992. Sold by Galerie de la Scala to the Art Institute, 2002.

Interpretive Resources

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