The Fair at Bezons

Artist: Jean-Baptiste Joseph Pater (French, Valenciennes 1695–1736 Paris)

Date: ca. 1733

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 42 x 56 in. (106.7 x 142.2 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: The Jules Bache Collection, 1949

Accession Number: 49.7.52


The picture, Pater's masterpiece, dates to the early 1730s, preceding a smaller 1733 version at Sanssouci Palace, Potsdam. The popular fair, held outside Paris each year on the first Sunday in September, inspired a stage play, a ballet-pantomime, and several works of art. Drawing from the imagery of Watteau’s fêtes galantes, Pater chose a bucolic landscape. People from all classes of society enjoy the festivities. The principal dancer may be Mademoiselle d'Angeville, a famous actress. Behind her is Pierrot, in white suit and ruff, and, on stage, a costumed monkey performs.