The Pleasures of Anacreon
Oil on canvas
77 1/4 x 98 1/2 inches (196.3 x 250.2 cm)
Thought to have remained in the artist's possession until his death
With Didier Aaron, Paris, 1994-95
[Sale] Sotheby's New York, June 6, 2012, lot 64
Paris, Salon, 1765 (not included in the Livret)
Paris, Salon, 1767, no. 149
Paris, Salon, 1791, no. 250
F. Dowley, "Anacreon and Le Prince," The Register of the Museum of Art, The University of Kansas at Lawrence, t. II, no. 6, June 1961, pp. 16-17 and 23, notes 47, 48 and 50
S. Sawicka, "Un dessin de Jean-Bernard Restout pour une peinture disparue," Gazette des Beaux-Arts, VIème per. (LXXII), 1968, pp. 191-94
Marc Sandoz, "'Les plaisirs d'Anacreon' de Jean-Bernard Restout," Bulletin du Musee National de Varsovie, no. 1 (1970), pp. 23-28
Jean Adhemar and Jean Seznec, eds., Diderot Salons, Vol. II, 1765, 2nd edition, Oxford 1979, pp. 204-5;
Jean Adhemar and Jean Seznec, eds., Diderot Salons, Vol. III, 1767, 2nd ed., Oxford 1983, pp. 284-85;
Else Marie Bukdahl and Annette Lorenceau, Diderot, Salon de 1765, Paris, 1984, pp. 271-75;
Didier Aaron, Catalogue, Paris, London, New York, 1994/95, cat. no. 10, reproduced
C. E. Foster, "Jean-Bernard Restout's 'Sleep--Figure Study': Painting and Drawing from Life at the French Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture," in Cleveland Studies in the History of Art, Vol. 3, 1998, pp. 51-53, detail reproduced, fig. 10
C. Gouzi, Jean Restout 1692-1768, peintre d'histoire a Paris (Paris, 2000), p. 169
The works of the ancient Greek lyric poet Anacreon (ca. 582-ca. 485 BC) enjoyed immense popularity among educated people throughout Europe in the 18th century. English poets wrote verses they called "Anacreontics" in his characteristic meters devoted to his signature themes of love and drunken revelry. In the 1760s a group of London gentleman musicians founded the Anacreontic Society to celebrate wine, women and song. The theme song of this society, "To Anacreon in Heaven," was set to a tune that was later reused as the setting for "The Star-Spangled Banner." Meanwhile, in France during the 1750s, the composer Jean-Philippe Rameau produced two separate operas devoted to the Greek poet.
The opulent scene depicted here, which shows Anacreon enjoying his two favorite passtimes, was exhibited in the Paris Salon of 1765 and that year became Restout's morceau d'agrement, the work that earned him the official agrement or "approval" of the Academy, the first step toward becoming a full member.
PLEASE NOTE: After the auction, this lot must be picked up from our Bronx warehouse at 805 East 134th Street, Bronx, NY 10454
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