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23 October 2016

Master of the depiction of 17/18th century everyday life Antoine Watteau on show at Städel Museum

The name Antoine Watteau (1684 - 1721) is known by fashion experts from the so-called 'Watteau pleats' which are named after the master's paintings of women wearing sack-back gowns or robes Ó la franšaise, the dress form is also named contouche or Adrienne. The Watteau pleats are long folds which begin at the neck on the backside of the dress and form a sort of cape. (Typical Watteau pleats aren't on view at the image on this page).

fig.: Exhibition view 'Watteau. The Draughtsman', Städel Museum (19 October 2016 until 15 January 2017). Photo: Städel Museum.

The exhibition 'Watteau - The Draughtsman' at Städel Museum (19 October 2016 until 15 January 2017) isn't mainly about his famous paintings but his spontaneous sketches of everyday life in public spaces such as realistic pictures of street performers and merchants in Paris. The red, white and black chalk ('three-chalk' technique) drawings were used by Antoine Watteau for pre-studies of his paintings.

Städel Museum presents five paintings and 50 drawings by Antoine Watteau including figures captured at folk festivals, drawings of male and female models in pilgrims' costumes or theatre studies for paintings such as the fête galante scenery depicted at 'The Embarkation for Cythera' which is also on view at the exhibition. The fête galante sceneries with women in the so-called robes à la française became later 'fashionable' in French art. The exhibition includes also 13 drawings by other artists of the time and successors such as François Boucher (1703–1770); another name which is well-known from costume history.

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