Lot 88
  • 88

François Boucher

30,000 - 40,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • François Boucher
  • Two children beside a basin of water
  • Red, black and white chalk with gray wash on blue-gray paper
  • 244 by 311 mm; 9 5/8  by 12 1/4  in.


Jean-Baptiste Glomy (L.1119);
Roblin sale, Paris, 16-17 May 1898, lot 41;
Lady Burdett-Coutts;
with Thomas Agnew & Sons Ltd, London;
sale, New York, Sotheby's, 29 January 1997, lot 125,
where acquired by Bernadette and William M.B. Berger, Denver, Colorado



A. Ananoff, L'Oeuvre Dessiné de François Boucher, Paris 1966, cat no. 18;
A. Ananoff (in collaboration with the Wildenstein Institute), François Boucher, Paris 1976, vol. II, p. 177, under no. 501, no. 501/1, reproduced, fig. 1398

Catalogue Note

Delightfully playful, this charming composition depicts two children beside a basin of water; they are engaged in a sort of jovial tussle as one child clambers over the other whilst grabbing hold of his companion’s arm.  Children and Putti play a prominent role in Boucher’s art and this is certainly a familiar theme that is represented in numerous paintings and engravings.  The children seen here feature, with some differences, in the lower right section of Boucher’s painting, Le Pecheur (fig. 1), signed and dated 1759, now in the Kunsthalle, Hamburg.1  However, rather than being the preparatory study for the pair in the painting, Alastair Laing proposes that the present work is a studio variant.  With its high degree of finish and the use of coloured chalks it is in fact a work in its own right and satisfies as a stand-alone composition.  The playfulness taps into the frivolity and carefree nature of the Rococo taste and emphasizes the idyllic notion of life that Boucher was so keen to portray.

 1. Ananoff, op.cit., 1976, fig. 1399