Seated Young Woman
Black, red, and white chalk on oatmeal-colored paper
6 7/8 x 8 1/8 inches (174 x 206 mm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene V. Thaw
This sheet is one of at least seven surviving drawings grouped as a series that eventually developed into Woman at Her Toilet, the painting of about 1719, now in the Wallace Collection, London. At first the model was fully dressed seated in a chaise longue (Fondation Custodia, Paris); then she was sketched partially undressed and apparently asleep on the chair. In three studies, including this one, the model is clad only in her chemise. Here, Watteau eliminated the chaise and brought the model—arranged in a complicated pose, leaning forward attentively—into heightened focus, concentrating on the play of light on her bare legs and shoulders.