Design for a fountain with two caryatids holding a basin

As first recognized by Perrin Stein (see Rosenberg, op. cit.), this drawing copies a fresco by Thomas Blanchet (1614-1689), La Gaule Belge et Cérès in Lyon town hall (L. Galactéros de Boissier, Thomas Blanchet, Paris, 1991, pp. 325 and 124, fig. 90). It is not known on what occasion Boucher could have seen Blanchet's fresco.

The drawing has been extended on both sides, possibly by Mariette so that it would better fit his mount.

We thank Alastair Laing for his kind help in cataloguing this lot.

H. Mireur, Dictionnaire des Ventes d'Art, Paris, 1901, p. 392.

A. Ananoff, L'œuvre dessiné de François Boucher (1703-1770). Catalogue raisonné, Paris, 1966, I, no. 972 (as lost).

P. Rosenberg, Les dessins de la collection Mariette. Ecole française, Milan, 2011, I, p. 335, no. F1077.

P.-J. Mariette (L.1852); Paris, 15 November 1775 - 30 January 1776, part of lot 1162 ('Quatre Sujets de Fontaine, Plafond, &c. à la plume & au bistre) (to F. Renaud for Lempereur).

Louis-Marie, duc de Rohan-Chabot; Paris, 21 July 1777, lot 168 ('Une fontaine, composée de deux femmes formant cariatides, & soutenant une coquille, sçavamment fait à la plume par [Boucher]. Partie du Numéro 1162 Cabinet Mariette').

Probably M. Josse; Paris, 21 November 1777, lot 41.

Probably Megret; Paris, 20 January 1783, lot 2.

with Galerie Fleuville, Paris 1962.

with Herman Shickman Gallery, New York, cat. October 1965, no. 62, repr. (as Juste-Nathan Boucher).

Christian Humann; Sotheby's New York, 30 April 1982, lot 68.

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