Costumed Dancers Performing in a Garden Tavern

Gabriel de Saint-Aubin1756

The Cleveland Museum of Art

The Cleveland Museum of Art
Cleveland, United States

Gabriel de Saint-Aubin was known for his rapidly executed, sketchy style, often used to depict performances and social scenes. The exaggerated lifted legs of the dancers seen here imply a comic, theatrical style; no social dance during the 18th century would have permitted such pronounced gestures, especially for a woman. Both dancers wear jackets with irregular hemlines decorated with round bells similar to those found on jesters’ costumes. The lanterns and swags of flowers strung from trees and the small orchestra playing on the right suggest a guinguette, or outdoor tavern with a pleasure garden.

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  • Title: Costumed Dancers Performing in a Garden Tavern
  • Creator: Gabriel de Saint-Aubin (French, 1724–1780)
  • Date Created: 1756
  • Physical Dimensions: Sheet: 19.8 x 31.3 cm (7 13/16 x 12 5/16 in.); Secondary Support: 19.8 x 31.3 cm (7 13/16 x 12 5/16 in.)
  • Provenance: John S. Thacher [1904-1982], Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Washington, Member of the Rothschild family, (Rosenberg & Stiebel, Inc., New York, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH), The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Type: Drawing
  • Rights: CC0
  • External Link: https://clevelandart.org/art/1966.124
  • Medium: brush and brown and gray wash, with gouache, watercolor, and traces of graphite
  • Inscriptions: lower left, in brown ink: 17[60?]; lower left, in graphite: G de St Aubin [partially cut off]; verso, visible through transmitted light, lower left: [aif?]; lower left: Fragonard; lower right: 22 / [illegible] / 22; verso of secondary support, center, in graphite: N
  • Fun Fact: Gabriel de Saint-Aubin reused the female dancer in another drawing from 1760.
  • Department: Drawings
  • Culture: France, 18th century
  • Credit Line: Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund
  • Collection: DR - French
  • Accession Number: 1966.124

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