Description: One of the leading colorists of belle époque France, Gaston La Touche was friends with many of the Impressionists, and his many depictions of French popular entertainments mirror the work of Realists like Edgar Degas and Jean-Louis Forain. Yet La Touche and his larger, less satirical work drew more from the Rococo tradition of the fête galante, a style of painting pioneered by Jean-Antoine Watteau that centered around the idle pursuits of love and pleasure by the upper class.
Completed over a century after Watteau’s death, The Joyous Festival was part of a larger revival of interest in Rococo art at the end of the nineteenth century. In this expansive, mythical nocturne, a gondola decorated with golden lanterns floats by a group of revelers dancing under a sky lit up by fireworks. With the Palace of Versailles as the backdrop, The Joyous Festival recalls the extravagance of the ancien regime, and was part of a series of dramatically festive evening scenes La Touche completed at the turn of the century.
Provenance: Gift of Mrs. James D. Robinson in Memory of James D. Robinson