91
91

PROPERTY OF A WEST COAST COLLECTOR

François Boucher
SLEEPING BACCHANTES SURPRISED BY SATYRS
Estimate
2,000,0003,000,000
LOT SOLD. 2,098,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
91

PROPERTY OF A WEST COAST COLLECTOR

François Boucher
SLEEPING BACCHANTES SURPRISED BY SATYRS
Estimate
2,000,0003,000,000
LOT SOLD. 2,098,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Old Master Paintings and Sculpture

|
New York

François Boucher
PARIS 1703 - 1770
SLEEPING BACCHANTES SURPRISED BY SATYRS
signed and dated on the pedestal of the urn at center left: F. Boucher/1760
oil on canvas
30 1/2  by 25 in.; 77.5 by 63.5 cm.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Christian IV, Herzog von Pfalz-Zweibrücken, "Duc des Deux-Ponts" (1722-1775);
His deceased sale (“Catalogue de Tableaux Originaux des Grands Mâitres des Trois Ecoles, qui ornoient un des Palais de feu son Altesse Monseigneur Christient, Duc des Deux Ponts”), Paris, Pierre Remy, Hôtel d’Aligre, 6 April 1778, lot 74 (sold with its pendant, Jupiter and Callisto [misidentified as "Diane & Endimion"], under the same lot number);
Claude Billard de Belisard, amongst the items confiscated from his house at no. 394 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 26 pluviôse, an 3 (26 January 1795);
Antoine-Gabriel-Aimé Jourdan;
His sale, Paris, Paillet, 4 April 1803, lot 3;
Comte de Morny;
His anonymous sale, Paris, Bonnefons de Lavialle, 16 December 1841, lot 72 ("Deux bacchantes endormies dans un bocage, et couchées sur demolles draperies, surprises par des satyres");
Smidt van Gelder, Amsterdam;
By whom anonymously sold ("The Property of a Gentleman"), London, Christie’s, 7 July 1972, lot 21, for £35,000 hammer price ($55,930);
There purchased by the present owners.

Exhibited

Paris, Salon, 1761, no. 9 (“Pastorales & Paysages, sous le même Numero”).

Literature

C. Wright, A Catalogue of the Old Master Paintings in the collection of Mr and Mrs J.V. Feather at Bridley Manor, Surrey, London 1974, pp. 8, 49, cat. no. 11, reproduced;
J. Seznec and J. Adhémar, Diderot Salons, Oxford 1975, Vol. I, pp. 83, 112, reproduced fig. 42;
A. Ananoff, François Boucher, Paris 1976, Vol. II, pp. 203-204, cat. no. 534, reproduced p. 205, fig. 1485;
D. Sutton, in François Boucher, A Loan Exhibition for the Benefit of The New York Botanical Garden, exhibition catalogue, New York 1980, p. 30;
G. Brunel, Boucher, New York 1986, p. 268;
A. Laing, in François Boucher 1703-1770, exhibition catalogue, New York 1986, p. 33.

Catalogue Note

This enchanting work by Boucher has been in the same family collection for over forty years since last appearing on the art market in 1972.  It brings together a number of themes - mythological subject matter, the depiction of an idealized pastoral landscape, and the glorification of the female nude - that had long engaged the artist and are so strongly associated with his name today.  In 1765, Boucher provided advice to his pupil, Johann Christian Mannlich, on how to ideally render the female body by advising that “One should hardly be able to imagine that a woman’s body contains any bones; without being fat, they must be rounded, yet delicate and slim-waisted, without being skinny.”1  Here Boucher depicts two naked, sleeping bacchantes, drowsy from too much wine and revelry; they lounge amid abundant draperies and bunches of grapes, as one rests her arm on an empty, overturned wine vessel.  Two swarthy and muscular satyrs appear at left, one leaning over a log and ready to pounce, while the other admonishes him to be quiet. Two amoretti appear in billowing clouds at right, one holding a bunch of grapes while the other looks at the satyrs and gestures towards the bacchantes, as if to encourage them on.

This painting has a pendant, Jupiter and Callisto, also signed and dated 1760, now in a private collection and on loan to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.The present work and its pendant first appeared in the Salon of 1761 as no. 9, under a group entry titled simply “Pastorales & Paysages sous le meme numero.”  That we are able to identify with certainty that the pair was part of this group entry can be credited to the artist Gabriel de Saint-Aubin (Paris 1724 - 1780) who, when attending the Salon exhibitions, habitually made accurate sketches of many of the exhibited works in the margins of his Salon livret.  Saint-Aubin was a great admirer of Boucher, who was one of his former Academy teachers, and his sketches after Boucher’s works are among his most spirited.3  In the lower right margins of his 1761 program, which is preserved in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, his sketched compositions of Bacchantes and Satyrs and Jupiter and Callisto can be clearly seen next to the listing of Boucher’s entry (see fig.1).  The two paintings next appear in the 1778 Paris sale of works from the collection of Christian IV, of Pfalz-Zweibrücken where they were sold together under one lot number and were described in detail in the catalogue, though with Jupiter and Callisto being misidentified as "Diana and Endymion" (interestingly, once again Saint-Aubin sketched the two pictures in the margin of his sale catalogue, and made a notation correcting the subject of the pendant).4

At some point, not long after the 1778 sale, the paintings were separated.  Jupiter and Callisto appeared alone just two years later in the 1780 sale of the Leroy de Senneville collection.5  Bacchantes and Satyrs next surfaces in an inventory of items confiscated from the house of the architect Claude Billard de Belisard on “26 pluviôse de l’an 3” (26 January 1795),6 and then appeared in the Paris 1803 sale of Antoine-Gabriel-Aimé Jourdan.  There is a gap of nearly forty years until Bacchantes and Satyrs was included in an auction of property sold anonymously from the collection of the Comte de Morny in 1841 (though this sale has been incorrectly linked with another painting of the same subject in some of the old literature).7  There is further confusion in the provenances of both Bacchantes and Satyrs and Jupiter and Callisto as Ananoff (see Literature) has them inexplicably reunited in an 1874 Paris exhibition, in aid of the Alsaciens-Lorrains, and another in Paris in 1883, both times having been lent by the Marquis du Vogüé.  This is incorrect and actually refers to two completely different works by Boucher.8  Well over a century after the de Morny sale of 1841, Bacchantes and Satyrs appeared in the 1972 London auction; though not designated in the catalogue, Ananoff lists it as from the Smidt van Gelder collection, Amsterdam.  How or when the painting arrived in the Netherlands is not known.

The first owner of Bacchantes and Satyrs and its pendant, Jupiter and Callsito, was Christian IV, of Pfalz-Zweibrücken, or the “duc des Deux Ponts” as he was known in Paris where he was mostly resident.  He was a member of the Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld branch of the important Wittelsbach family.  The Duke was a great friend and patron of Boucher, and an avid collector.  The 1778 sale included no fewer than seven works by Boucher.  Other works from his collection descended in the family and were eventually an important contribution in the formation of the Alte Pinakothek, Munich, including Boucher’s Odalisque of 1752.

Ananoff mentions that, according to "family tradition," this painting was given by Napoléon to his Arch-Chancellor, Jean-Jacques-Régis de Cambacérès.

We are grateful to Alastair Laing for his assistance in cataloguing this lot.

1.  See A. Laing, in François Boucher, exhibition catalolgue, New York 1986, p. 272.
2.  See Ananoff, op.cit., vol. II, p. 203, cat. no. 533, reproduced. p. 204, fig. 1479.
3.  See. C. Bailey in Gabriel de Saint-Aubin 1724-1780, exhibition catalogue, New York 2008, p. 92.
4.  In the collection of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris (see Gabriel de Saint-Aubin 1724-1780, exhibition catalogue, New York 2008, p. 34, reproduced fig. 35).
5.  Paris, 5 April 1780, lot 21, sold to "Mr. du Poyne."
6.  Information provided by Alastair Laing on the basis of information supplied to him by Dr. Katie Scott.
7.  L. Soullié and C. Masson, in "Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint et dessiné de François Boucher," included in François Boucher by A. Michel, Paris 1906, mistakenly list the de Morny sale provenance under another Boucher painting entitled Bacchantes Endormies, their cat. no. 95, which is a painting from 1758 and engraved by Gaillard, depicting four bacchantes asleep.  The de Morny sale catalogue clearly describes lot 72  as “deux bacchantes endormies…”.  To further confuse things, Ananoff (see Literature) correctly lists the de Morny provenance for the present painting, but lists the lot number incorrectly as “Lot 59” which is a landscape by Ruysdael.
8. The correct pictures are Ananoff cat. no. 261, Les Amusements de la Campagne and cat. no. 262, La Musique Pastorale, under which he correctly lists the same provenance and exhibition information.

Important Old Master Paintings and Sculpture

|
New York