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Boucher, François

Paris, 1703 - Paris, 1770

Initially a pupil of his father and subsequently of François Lemoine, Boucher also worked in the studio of the engraver Jean-François Cars and later for Jean de Jullienne, engraving a great many of Watteau's "Figures de différents charactères", which familiarised him with the world of the "fêtes galantes" established by the brilliant master from Valenciennes. He studied at the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in Paris and received the Grand Prix in 1724, enabling him to travel to Italy on a scholarship awarded by the institution in the company of Carle van Loo in 1727. On returning, he joined the academy in 1731 as an assistant and was eventually accorded full membership status as a history painter for "Rinaldo and Armida" (Paris, Musee du Louvre). In 1735 he received his first court commission for the palace of Versailles and thenceforward was involved in the main tasks of decorating and transforming the royal residences of France and other Crown properties (Versailles, Fontainebleau, Marly, Choisy, the Royal Library, etc.). He was also the favourite painter of the Marquise of Pompadour, Louis XV's lover, and worked for private mansions. He likewise designed sets for the opera house, executed tapestry cartoons and came to be appointed chief inspector of the Gobelins manufactory after Oudry died. Despite these mammoth tasks, he did not neglect easel painting or drawing, leaving abundant examples of both embracing a broad variety of themes: religious scenes, portraits, pastorals, landscapes, everyday anecdotes with familiar subjects, chinoiseries and classical mythology, among others. When Carle van Loo died in 1765, Boucher was appointed First Painter to the King. Viewed as a whole, Boucher's oeuvre is immense but unequal, declining somewhat towards the end of his life. This earned him harsh criticism, especially from Diderot, and his formulas progressively became outdated. His studio, the numerous imitations and repetitions of his works, and the generous criteria applied when distinguishing between originals and copies have led the already extensive oeuvre by his hand to be considered much greater than it really was. A future catalogue "raisonné" therefore aims to establish the authenticity of the genuine works and discard those that are spurious (Luna, J. J.: From Titian to Goya. Great Masters of the Museo del Prado, National Art Museum of China-Shanghai Museum, 2007, p. 385).

Artworks (7)

Amorcillos jugando con un pichón
Oil on canvas, XVIII century
Boucher, François (Copy)
Amorcillos vendimiando
Oil on canvas, XVIII century
Boucher, François (Copy)
Pan and Syrinx
Oil on canvas, 1760 - 1765
Boucher, François
Hombre tirando de una cuerda
White lead on brown paper, Second quarter of the XVIII - Tercer cuarto del siglo XVIII century
Boucher, François
Grupo de figuras
Charcoal on grey paper, Second quarter of the XVIII - Tercer cuarto del siglo XVIII century
Boucher, François (Workshop of)
Estudio arquitectónico con atlantes y cariátides
Wash on yellow paper, Second quarter of the XVIII - Tercer cuarto del siglo XVIII century
Boucher, François (Workshop of)
Academia: hombe desnudo
Red chalk on laid paper, 1751
Boucher, François

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