Soon after Watteau's premature death in 1721, nearly three hundred of his paintings were engraved and published. Until recently, only about eighty of these paintings were generally thought to have survived. In just the last decade, however, a remarkable number of lost or previously unknown works have been identified, including the masterpiece La Surprise of 1718-19, now on long-term loan to The Frick Collection. This lecture will draw attention to these newly rediscovered works, many of which are still in private collections, and discuss the means by which they have been identified and their attributions secured.
Alan Wintermute, Senior Specialist, Vice President, Head of Sales for Old Master Paintings and Old Master Drawings, Christie's New York, began his professional career as Assistant Director of Stair Sainty Matthiesen Gallery in New York in 1984. From 1987 to 1996 he was a Director of Colnaghi USA, a leading gallery of Old Master paintings, and he organized for the firm a series of acclaimed exhibitions, including 1789: French Art during the Revolution (1989), Claude to Corot: The Development of Landscape Painting in France (1990), and The French Portrait, 1550-1850 (1996), whose catalogues, published by the University of Washington Press, have become standard reference works. He was later Head of Paintings at Artemis Fine Arts, London and New York.
Alan has taught art history, lectured, and published widely in Master Drawings, The Burlington Magazine, and The New York Times. After joining Christie's in 1998, Mr. Wintermute oversaw the annual theme sale, "Arts of France" and subsequently headed Christie's gallery of Private Sales until 2008. A recognized authority on eighteenth-century French art, Mr. Wintermute was curator of the acclaimed exhibition Watteau and His World: French Drawing from 1700 to 1750, which was held at The Frick Collection (1999) and The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (2000). He is a contributing author of the catalogue for the exhibition French Genre Painting in the Age of Watteau, Chardin and Fragonard, which was held at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa and the Gemaldegalerie, Berlin, 2004-05 and is a contributing author to the catalogue of an exhibition of The Splendor of Ruins in French Landscape Painting, 1630-1800, which was held at the Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in 2005. He has written a forthcoming monograph on Antoine Watteau and is preparing a catalogue raisonné of Watteau's paintings.