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Fountain in a Park
Adolphe Monticelli
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A number of costumed figures on horseback and on foot, distributed in different groups in the foreground, are seen beside a fountain near a forest. On the left, four women wearing long dresses seem to be busy chatting and observing the two horsemen next to them. On the right-hand side of the painting two women are walking toward a third female figure, clothed in a bright yellow dress, waiting for them at the opposite side of the fountain.

These imagined scenes in which elegant figures enjoy themselves in parks and gardens evoke the type of eighteenth-century French painting known as fêtes galantes. These were a favourite subject for Monticelli throughout his career. This painting is very likely a companion piece to his Meeting Place of the Hunt, also in the National Gallery, which is identical in size and painted on a matching wooden panel. Both pictures have been dated on the basis of style to about 1875–80.

Key facts
Artist Adolphe Monticelli
Artist dates 1824 - 1886
Full title Fountain in a Park
Series Two Gallant Scenes
Date made about 1875-80
Medium and support Oil on wood, probably mahogany
Dimensions 19.1 x 47 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Presented as part of the 'Harry Wearne Collection of Twelve Paintings by Monticelli' to the Tate Gallery, 1939; transferred, 1956
Inventory number NG5011
Location in Gallery Not on display
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Two Gallant Scenes

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In these two paintings, Fountain in a Park and Meeting Place of the Hunt, a number of figures on horseback and on foot gather beside a fountain. Their similar compositions, identical sizes and the fact that they are painted on matching wooden panels, suggest that they are companion pieces. They have both been dated on the basis of style to about 1875–80.

These imagined scenes, in which elegant figures wearing colourful dress enjoy themselves in parks and gardens, evoke eighteenth-century paintings known as fêtes galantes initiated by Jean-Antoine Watteau, a favourite subject for Monticelli throughout his career.

In his later years subject matter became subordinated to his distinctive colourful and thickly painted style. Presented as part of the ‘Harry Wearne Collection of Twelve Paintings by Monticelli’ to the Tate Gallery in 1939, these two paintings were transferred to the National Gallery in 1956.

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