• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2175

    Old Masters and 19th Century Art

    4 June 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 123

    François Boucher (Paris 1703-1770)


    Price Realised  


    François Boucher (Paris 1703-1770)
    signed 'f Boucher' (lower left)
    oil on canvas, the upper corners made up
    43½ x 47 in. (110.5 x 119.4 cm.)
    in a period-style gilt frame, shaped to cover the upper corners

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Contact the department

    Boucher's charming painting Autumn is associated with a series of prints of putti in allegorical representations of the Four Seasons that were made by Claude Duflos (1700-1786) after models by Boucher and published at an unknown date. It is not certain whether the prints were made after Boucher's paintings or related drawings ('F. Bouch. Inv.'), but it seems likely that paintings of all four of the Seasons once existed. Nevertheless, only two of these original paintings - the present lot and Spring --have been known since they appeared as a pair in Rémy's collection in 1772; they remained together in Prince Demidoff's celebrated collection at San Donato, and were still paired in 1879 when they belonged to Charles Méra, after which they were separated. (Spring was with Galerie Cailleux in the 1960s and last appeared in public when it was sold at Sotheby's, New York, 9 January 1980, lot 98.)

    Alastair Laing (in correspondence) has affirmed that the present painting and its former companion are Boucher's originals (no other versions are known or recorded), but he notes that it was the artist's practice with such decorative panels to execute them in collaboration with studio assistants. Laing does not propose a date for Autumn, but Ananoff placed it around 1744-1745. Françoise Joulie (in correspondence) has proposed an earlier date for this 'wonderful painting', comparing the faces of the putti -- and, in particular the extreme upsweep of their eyes - to a drawing of a putto in The Horvitz Collection, Boston, that she places c. 1740 (see F. Joulie, Esquisses, pastels et dessins de François Boucher dans les collections privées, exhibition catalogue, Musée Lambinet, Versailles, 2004, no. 31).

    Pierrette Jean-Richard (op. cit.) noted that Autumn served as the model for an enamel medallion on the lid of an 18th-century tabatière in the collections of the Département des Objets d'Art, Musée du Louvre.

    Our thanks to Alastair Laing for confirming the attribution and Françoise Joulie, who studied the present painting in photographs, for their assistance in cataloging this lot.


    Rémy, Paris; sale, 30 June 1772, lot 567 (sold for 100,5 livres with Spring).
    Prince Anatole Demidoff, San Donato; his second sale, 26 February 1870, lot 98 (4800 francs).
    with V. Winkel and Magnussen, Copenhagen.
    Charles Méra, Lyon; sale, 19 March 1879, lot 2.
    Hanna Rasmussen Lothe, Lake Forest; Parke-Bernet, New York, 19 April 1958, lot 316.
    Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, New York, 17 January 1986, lot 148.
    with Galerie Jacques Perrin, Paris, 1986; acquired from Perrin at the Paris Biennale in 1986 by the present owner.


    A. Michel, François Boucher, and a Catalogue raisonné de L'Oeuvre peint et dessiné by M.L. Soullié and M.C. Masson, Paris, 1906, nos. 5 and 1455.
    A. Ananoff, François Boucher, Lausanne and Paris, 1976, I, no. 277, fig. 820.
    P. Jean-Richard, L'Oeuvre gravé de François Boucher dans la Collection Edmond de Rothschild, Paris, 1978, under no. 905.
    A. Ananoff and D. Wildenstein, L'opera completa di Boucher, Milan, 1980, no. 287.