Polish Woman

Polish Woman[a] is an oil on panel painting in the National Museum, Warsaw, historically attributed to the French Rococo artist Jean-Antoine Watteau. The painting correlates to a presumably lost drawing by Watteau that is now known via François Boucher's etching published in 1726 as part of the Recueil Jullienne. Given that the painting is not signed, its attribution and dating remains uncertain; various authors either accept or reject the painting as a Watteau, dating it from the early 1710s to the early 1730s.

Polish Woman
fr: La femme polonaise, pl: Polka
Watteau Polish woman.jpg
ArtistAntoine Watteau (?)
See § Attribution and dating
Yearca. 1710–1730s
CatalogueR 98; HA 56; EC 166; RT 80
Mediumoil on panel
Dimensions36.5 cm × 28.5 cm (14.4 in × 11.2 in)
LocationNational Museum, Warsaw

Polish Woman forms a single-figure, full-length composition that depicts a young woman standing amid a landscape, dressed in somewhat an exotic attire, consisting of long red gown with fur garment and white bonnet; it is a recurring subject that is also present in numerous paintings and drawings by Watteau such as The Coquettes and The Dreamer. Numerous authors thought the attire to be related to the so-called "Polish" fashion that was said to be present in France during Watteau's lifetime, hence the traditional naming is derived; there were also attempts to identify the sitter of the painting, who was notably thought to be Watteau's contemporary, the Comédie-Française actress Charlotte Desmares.

By the mid-18th century, Polish Woman was owned by Louis Antoine Crozat, Baron de Thiers [fr], nephew of the Parisian merchant and art collector Pierre Crozat; for one and a half century following the 1772 acquisition of the Crozat collection for Empress Catherine the Great, Polish Woman was among Russian imperial collections in the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, and later in the Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo, before entering the Hermitage again in 1910; after the Polish–Soviet War of 1920, the picture was ceded to Poland in 1923 under the regulations of the Peace of Riga.[3] During World War II, the painting was seized into the collection of the prominent Nazi politician Hermann Göring, before being restored into Polish property upon the war's conclusion.



  1. ^ Also called The Polish Woman[1] and Polish Lady in English,[2] and La Polonaise in French.


  1. ^ Camesasca 1971, p. 116.
  2. ^ Danielewicz 2019, p. 346.
  3. ^ Norman 1998, p. 170.


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