Bouchardon: black chalk, with light gray wash; signed and dated in pen and brown ink: EBouchardon Fecit. 1738.
The Boucher on a separate piece of paper, stuck on at the top corners: black chalk; signed in black chalk: f.Boucher
This most charming and unusual work consists of two parts, probably put together with skill and wit by the mount-maker Glomy. The Bouchardon is inscribed under Boucher's drawing with the dedication: CATALOGUE/ DES LIVRES. DE/ MONSIEUR/ DE/ BOZE. It was engraved by Johann Martin Preissler (1715-1794) who worked in Paris before 1744. It clearly was intended as the frontispiece of the catalogue of M. Boze's library, but no such publication has been traced. There were, however, two posthumous sales of the library in Paris in 1753 and 1754. Claude Gros de Boze (1680-1753) was a significant figure in the intellectual life of Paris, a member of many of the scholarly societies. He became curator of the the Cabinet des médailles et antiques and made an inventory of the King's collection of medals and engraved stones. In such a capacity, he would certainly have had frequent contacts with Bouchardon who made many designs for medals.
The Boucher drawing is characteristic in style and handling and finds parallels in many of his paintings of putti occupied with artistic activities, for example in the panels designed for Mme de Pompadour's boudoir and now in the Frick Collection.1 The bust of the little girl, with her hair in a twist, occurs often in those compositions. He also made drawings for frontispieces and groups of putti in similar poses which were engraved and clearly satisfied a demand from collectors.2
1. See A. Ananoff, François Boucher, Lausanne-Paris 1976, vol. II, p. 68-9, no. 368 and p. 210-11, no.545
2. See, for example, P. Jean-Richard, L'Oeuvre gravé de François Boucher, Paris 1978, p. 88, no. 241
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