Couple Under a Parasol in a Garden with Another Lady Writiing
Jean Baptiste Mallet (1759-1835). Original watercolor and gouache drawing on wove paper, ca. 1791-93, 225 x 170 mm., ex collections: Alice Speed Stoll (1906-1996, not in Lugt); J. B. Speed Art Museum; Galerie Didier Aaron. Fine, delicately drawn and finished sheet, signed with a faint penciled “M” at the lower right. The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum has dated the man's cockade and the seated woman's Phrygian cap to ca. 1791-3 when they would have been common fashion accessories, and Mallet was meticulous in his representations of fashionable dress. The sheet is smaller in size but completely comparable in style to many Mallet watercolors sold at auction. Appropriately framed (a small loss at the top of the frame). Mallet was a popular artist in his time, influenced by Greuze and Fragonard as well as by Dutch 17th century painting, and noted for his elegant watercolor representations of life and fashion under the Directorate (1795-99) and the First Empire.