The drawing dates from the later years of the artist's career. There are affinities with the head of the handmaiden at Venus's feet in the large Venus at Vulcan's forge, dated 1769, now in the Kimbell Museum, Fort Worth (A. Ananoff and D. Wildenstein, François Boucher, Fribourg, 1976, II, no. 675).
The drawing is laid down on a mount bearing the stamp of Jean-Baptiste Glomy (1711-1786), an art expert who organized many auctions but whose main activity was to mount and frame drawings and prints. His mounts - which combined black and gold framing lines on blue or grey cardboard and were then put under glass - became so fashionable that the term 'églomisé' was soon attached to any framed mount resembling his.
The drawing must have been in a Swedish collection quite early on as when it was sold in Stockholm in 1931 as part of the Palm collection (possibly C.V. Palm, former director of the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm) it was described as being in a 'Gustaviansk Ram', i.e. a frame of the reign of King Gustav III (1771-1794).
We thank Alastair Laing for his kind help in cataloguing this lot.
Signature: With inscription 'F Boucher f.'
with the stamp of the mounter J.-B. Glomy (L.1085).
Palm collection (possibly C.V. Palm); Bukowski, Stockholm, 18-19 March 1931, lot 438.
with Charles E. Slatkin Galleries, New York, where acquired by the present owner, 1972.
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