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François Boucher

Born: Paris, 29 September 1703
Died: Paris, 30 May 1770
Nationality: French
Background: 

son of painter

Studies: 

with father, Nicolas Bouché

Career: 

1723 – won Prix de Rome (funding given to someone else)

1723-28 – engraver’s assistant

1734 – Académie Royale junior member (reçu) based on acceptance of Rinaldo and Armida (1734, Louvre, Paris)

1736 – began working also as tapestry designer

1739 – began working as set designer at opera

1755 – Inspector of Works at Gobelins tapestry factory

1765 – Director of Académie Royale; First Painter to King

-Exhibited regularly at the Salon  

Commissions from: 

Louis XV, Marquise de Pompadour (Boucher painted her portrait eight times)

Important Artworks: 

Triumph of Venus, 1740 (Nationalmuseum, Stockholm)

Diana After the Bath, 1742 Salon (Louvre, Paris)    

Many of Boucher’s paintings were engraved and sold as prints 


John Constable held a low opinion of Boucher:

“But the climax of absurdity to which the art may be carried, when led away from nature by fashion, may be best seen in the works of Boucher. Good temper, suavity, and dissipation characterized the personal habits of this perfect specimen of the French School of the time of Louis XV, or the early part of the last century. His landscape, of which he was evidently fond, is pastoral; and such pastorality! The pastoral of the opera house….Boucher told Sir Joshua Reynolds ‘that he never painted from the life, for that nature put him out.’”

From Constable’s Second Royal Academy lecture (1836); cited in Lorenz Eitner, Neoclassicism and Romanticism 1750-1850, vol. 2: Neoclassicism and Romanticism. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1970, pp. 66-7

Web Resources

 Metmuseum: François Boucher