Boucher, François

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Boucher, François

(fräNswä` bo͞oshā`), 1703–70, French painter. Boucher's art embodied the spirit of his time; it was elegant, frivolous, and artificial. He studied briefly with François Le Moyne but was also influenced by Watteau, many of whose works he engraved. At the age of 20 he won the Grand Prix, and from 1727 to 1731 he studied in Italy. On his return he rapidly became the most fashionable painter of his day and a teacher and favorite of Mme de Pompadour. He produced a vast number of pictures, decorations, tapestry designs, stage settings for ballet and opera, and fine etchings. As a result, Boucher enjoyed many academic and official honors including that of director of the Gobelins tapestry works. Fragonard was his pupil for a time. The Louvre and the Wallace Collection, London, excel in selections of Boucher's work. He is well represented in the United States by his Toilet of Venus and Birth and Triumph of Venus in the Metropolitan Museum, New York City. Fine examples of his work are in the Frick Collection, New York City, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Bibliography

See study by A. Laing (1986).

Boucher, François

 

Born Sept. 29, 1703, in Paris; died there May 30, 1770. French painter. Brilliant representative of the rococo artistic movement.

Boucher became a member of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in Paris in 1734 and its director in 1765. He was “first painter to the king.” His style took shape under the influence of A. Watteau, and he began his work by engraving Watteau’s pictures. Boucher painted ceilings, wall panels, pictures with mythological, pastoral, and genre scenes, smartly coquettish portraits, and idealized landscapes (View of the Environs of Beauvais; Hermitage, Leningrad). He made sketches for the manufacture of tapestries at Beauvais and for theatrical decor, and engravings for books. In Boucher’s warm and color-saturated pictures painted during the 1720’s and 1730’s, there are noticeable echoes of Flemish art (Hercules and Omphale; Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow). His later works, with an abundance of pink and light-blue shades, sinuous, weaving lines, and complex foreshortenings, intensify the rococo traits of decorativeness, eroticism, affected grace, and a porcelain, china-doll quality of the figures (Diana Leaving the Bath, 1742; Louvre, Paris).

REFERENCE

Nolhac, P. de. Boucher.… Paris, 1925.
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