François Boucher (Paris 1703-1770)
François Boucher (Paris 1703-1770)

A seated female nude

François Boucher (Paris 1703-1770)
A seated female nude
with inscription on the back of the mount 'Academie de Femme. Cest le plus beau dessein de cette espece que l'on puisse voir. Il est de/Mr. Boucher nommé avec beaucoup de justice le peintre des graces.'
black, red and white chalk on buff paper
14¼ x 11½ in. (364 x 292 mm.)
J.P. Heseltine (L. 1507).
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, New York, 13 January 1989, lot 18.
A. Michel, François Boucher, Paris, 1906, p. 128, no. 2315.
A. Ananoff, François Boucher, Paris, 1966, no. 464, fig. 88 (incorrectly described as on blue paper).
A. Ananoff, François Boucher, Lausanne, 1976, II, p. 81, fig. 1108.
London, Grafton Galleries, National Loan Exhibition, 1909-10, no. 84, illus., p. 112.
Paris, Salon de M. Stettiner, Dessins de l'Ecole française du XVIIIe siècle de la collection Heseltine, 1913, no. 12.
New York, Gimpel and Wildenstein, La collection Heseltine, 1914, no. 10.

Lot Essay

Related to the figure of Venus in Boucher's painting Venus consoling Cupid, signed and dated 1751, now in the National Gallery, Washington (Ananoff, 1976, op. cit., p. 79, fig. 1104). This picture and its pendant, The toilet of Venus now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York (François Boucher, exhib. cat., New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and elsewhere, 1986-7, no. 60) were painted for the Marquise de Pompadour's salle de bain at the Château de Bellevue, the retreat she created for herself and King Louis XV.
However, the differences from the painting, the placement of the figure at the center of the sheet and the care given to the execution, could indicate that this drawing was made by Boucher as a work of art in its own right, arising out of an earlier study for the National Gallery's Venus, maybe the one in black chalk now in the Hermitage, Saint Petersburg (see A. Ananoff, 1976, op. cit., fig. 1109).
We thank Alastair Laing for his help in cataloguing this lot.

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