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Louis-Léopold Boilly (La Bassée, near Lille 1761-1845 Paris)
Louis-Léopold Boilly (La Bassée, near Lille 1761-1845 Paris)
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Louis-Léopold Boilly (La Bassée, near Lille 1761-1845 Paris)

L'Amusement de la campagne

Details
Louis-Léopold Boilly (La Bassée, near Lille 1761-1845 Paris)
L'Amusement de la campagne
oil on paper laid down on panel
12 x 8 ¼ in. (30.3 x 21 cm.)
Provenance
Anonymous sale [Faucher, ancien Préfet; Tresca, graveur]; Regnault-Delalande, Paris, 2 April 1816, lot 10, as part of a series of six paintings (29,95 francs to Van Gorp).
Anonymous sale; Bonnefons de Lavialle, Paris, 6-7 décembre 1819, lot 10 (23 francs, to Henry, Bon-Thomas);
Ernest Vincent; his sale, Drouot, Paris, 22 February 1872, lot 10 (390 francs to Féral);
Gustave Rothan (1822-1890); his sale (†), Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 29-31 May 1890, lot 121.
Princesse de Reily, Belgium.
Anonymous sale [A Fine Private Collection]; Christie's, Amsterdam, 12-13 September 1985, lot 32 (41,760 DFL).
with Rafael Valls, London, by 1986.
with Wildenstein, New York, by 1994.
Literature
H. Harrisse, L.-L. Boilly: sa vie et son oeuvre, Paris, 1898, p. 104, no. 227.
P. Marmottan, Le peintre Louis Boilly (1761-1845), Paris, 1913, p. 229, 252.
Exhibited
New York, Wildenstein, The Winds of Revolution, 14 November 1989-19 January 1990, no. 65.

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Adrian Hume-Sayer

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Lot Essay

One of the most successful painters working in France from the final years of the Ancien Régime until the mid-nineteenth century, Louis-Léopold Boilly is famed for his sensitive portraits and intimate genre scenes. His precise, almost miniaturist technique is reminiscent of the work of seventeenth-century Dutch masters like Gerard ter Borch (1617-1681) and Gabriel Metsu (1629-1669), whose work he collected. This admiration is eminently demonstrated in the careful modelling of fabric and the subtle gradations of tone across the work in this charming picture of a young woman playing with her dog.
L'Amusement de la campagne was originally designed by Boilly as part of a series of six small paintings of young ladies in park settings. Each depicted its subject in a somewhat artful, and in some cases coquettish, attitude: watching a bird (sold De Baecque & Associés, Paris, 20 November 2015, lot 130); tying a garter (fig. 1); posing with a basket of flowers on a bench (sold Millon & Associés, Paris, 16 October 1998, lot 44); playing with a dog (the present work); walking holding a book; and the last shown attempting to cross a stream (sold De Baecque & Associés, Paris, 20 November 2015, lot 131). The paintings, dating to circa 1789-1793, capitalised on the tradition of the figures de mode which had been popularised in the work of earlier painters like Jean-François de Troy in his modern genre scenes, with each depicting pretty young women in fashionable dresses engaged in recreational, leisurely pursuits.
Boilly’s series seems to have been intended to recall the designs of fashion plates and ephemeral printed material which would have been widespread and instantly recognisable to his public, capitalising on its sometimes suggestive subject matter or composition, especially with pictures like The Garter (S.L. Siegfried, The Art of Louis-Léopold Boilly: Modem Life in Napoleonic France, New Haven and London, 1995, p. 9). Indeed, the paintings were themselves engraved by Salvatore Tresca, an Italian born engraver active in Paris, from whose collection the group were posthumously sold in 1816.
The present painting will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of Boilly's paintings being prepared by Etienne Breton and Pascal Zuber as no. 188 P.

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