Valenciennes 1695 — 1736 Paris
A Peasant Woman Carrying her Baby
red chalk. 8 x 31/4" (204 x 83mm).top corners made up (old restoration). inscribed on the verso in a modern European hand: Lancret Collection B d.Schwiter.
Following in the footsteps of his teacher Watteau, Pater painted Fetes Champetres, but for his paintings of military life and groups of bathers he is more highly regarded. A painting entitled Troops on the March entered the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1956.1 At the center of that composition are two figures on horseback. Just behind them, bathed in light, is a mother holding a baby in her arms. That the present drawing is a study for this figure is certain. The pose is identical, the clothing is very similar, only the child is different as the one in the painting is not so tiny.
The painting is dated circa 1725. We can assume that the same date is applicable for the drawing.
Before this drawing was connected to the painting in the Met, it was seen by Florence Raymond who kindly confirmed the attribution to Pater.2
accession # 56.55.1. See www.metmuseum.org. This painting was also published by Ingersoll-Smouse in Pater, Paris, 1928, cat. # 449, fig.125, when it was in the NY collection of Mrs. Herbert MacBride, having been bought from Wildenstein, Paris who in turn had gotten it directly or not from the collection of Baron Maurice Rothschild.
As told by the previous owner.