Description In his youth, La Touche frequented the same Paris cafés as the Impressionists and is reputed to have received advice from Edouard Manet and Edgar Degas. As a mature artist, he broke with his realist beginnings to paint in a harmonious decorative style that reflects the influence of the Rococo painters of the 18th century. For his wealthy clients, such scenes may have evoked nostalgia for the ancien régime of pre-Revolutionary France. La Touche joined Pierre Puvis de Chavannes in breaking with the official salons to become a member of the rival Société nationale des Beaux-Arts. In this scene, reminiscent of 17th-century fêtes-galantes, several women in colorful dress are relaxing in a park, either at Versailles or St.-Cloud. Two women resting in chairs in the foreground ignore a monkey who torments a white parrot perched in the bars of a gold cage. One woman holds a fan and one has hung her straw hat on the back of her chair. Another women stands off to the right, leaning against the arbor. There is a large, elaborate stone fountain in the background, with a nude sculpture at the top and putti figures encircling the base. It shoots several streams of water into the air. Thick vines and flowers grow over the arbor, and the grass is a lush green. The scene is bathed in a golden-orange light, which reflects on everything from the water in the fountain to the clothing of the women. La Touche's brilliant jewel tones and the relaxed poses of the women contribute to the airy and carefree atmosphere of this painting, recalling the Rococo scenes of the previous generation.
- A Magnificent Age: Masterpieces from the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte. 2002-2004.
Provenance Emile Chouanard, Nice; Roger Goiran, Dunedin, Florida [date of acquisition unknown], by inheritance; Walters Art Museum, 1986, by gift.
Credit Gift of Roger Goiran in memory of his grandfather Emile Chouanard, 1986
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