Do I love the museum better than the lunch? Hmm. That’s a tough one. Either way, the musée Jacquemart-André will be on my must-see list for its exhibit De Watteau à Fragonard, les fêtes galantes (duh vahtoe ah frag-on-ar lay fet gal-ahnt). Fête galante literally means “courtship party.” It refers to a style of painting from early in the 18th century first done by Watteau in which elaborately dressed courting couples frolicked during countryside picnics.
This exhibit brings together sixty works from important collections in Europe and the United States. The centerpiece of the exhibit is Watteau’s La Fête à Saint-Cloud, which has belonged to the Bank of France for the past 200 years. They hardly ever loan it out, so this exhibit is a rare opportunity to see this painting. In addition to paintings by Watteau, works by his contemporaries François Boucher and Jean-Honoré Fragonard are also represented. It will be on until July 21, 2014. And I’ll save room for dessert in the splendid Jacque-mart-André tea room afterward. That way I’ll get to have my cake and eat it, too.