Nicolas Lancret
French, 1690-1743
Collected by major museums
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields

Nicolas Lancret is known for his small-scale paintings of elegantly dressed aristocrats in playful engagements—a painting style called the fête galante of which Lancret was early 18th-century Paris's most famed practitioner. The son of a coachman, Lancret trained as an engraver and became the apprentice to a history painter, afterwards attending the Académie Royale (from which he was expelled for bad behavior) and joining the workshop of Claude Gillot, the teacher of Jean-Antoine Watteau—the artist who would most significantly influence Lancret's trajectory. Upon the death of both artists, Lancret became the main exponent of the fête galante, channeling the subject matter of his formers along with their techniques, like the trois crayons—using three shades of chalk—but forming a rich color palette and humor all his own. His works often adorned royal residences at the request of …

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