Children at play and children engaging in everyday activities are two of Boucher's most frequent subjects -- repeated in paintings, drawings and prints as well as designs for porcelain. Alastair Laing suggested in the 2003 catalogue that accompanied the Frick and Kimbell exhibitions that the present drawing -- given its degree of finish and the fact that there are no known prints made after it, nor paintings that incorporate this figure -- was intended for a Sèvres biscuit figure by Etienne-Maurice Falconet. Falconet had already made a group of biscuit figures entitled Les buveurs de lait in 1750 based on etchings by Boucher. A standing child sipping from a bowl appears in Boucher's painting Le goûter champêtre now in the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore (37.838; Ananoff and Wildenstein, op. cit., II, no. 667).
We thank Alastair Laing for his kind help in cataloguing this lot.
Signature: traces of a faint inscription 'Franc ***'
Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art and Chicago, Art Institute, François Boucher in North American collections, 1973-4, no. 11.
New York, The Frick Collection, and Fort Worth, Kimbell Museum, The drawings of François Boucher, 2003, no. 53.
A. Ananoff and D. Wildenstein, François Boucher, Fribourg, 1976, II, p. 293, no. 667/2, fig. 1743.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 2 December 1969, lot 197.
with Charles E. Slatkin Galleries, New York.
About François Boucher
In 1765, François Boucher was awarded the two highest honors among the French arts establishment—appointed as first painter to the king and head of The Royal Academy. Boucher was one of the most celebrated decorative artists of the 18th century, known for formulating and championing the style of Rococo through revival of the idealized, pastoral landscape. Born in France, Boucher moved to Italy in 1728 where was immersed in the Italian countryside and the study of Baroque, 17th-century Dutch landscape painters, and 18th-century Venetian works. Upon return to Paris, he began producing large-scale mythological paintings, combining his early reference points in a playful, lighthearted way. Boucher pictured a landscape filled with shepherdesses and classical divinities, combining the traditional innocence of rural pastoral views with his decorative allegories, erotic scenes, and voluptuous forms.
French, 1703 - 1770 , Paris, France, based in Paris, France