Lot 60
  • 60

FRANÇOIS BOUCHER | Sketch of two cupids in the air

8,000 - 12,000 USD
20,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • François Boucher and Studio
  • Sketch of two cupids in the air
  • Black and white chalk, within pen and black ink framing lines, on buff paper;bears inscription lower left, in pen and brown ink: f.B.. followed by the cipher of the auctioneer, Pierre Remy (?)


Richard Sheridan,
from whom bought 11 April 1946 by French and Company,
sold to Ira Haupt 1st August 1948;
Private Collection, Switzerland;
sale, New York, Sotheby's, 28 January 1998, lot 52 (as Attributed to François Boucher),
where acquired by Bernadette and William M.B. Berger, Denver, Colorado


New York, The Frick Collection, and Fort Worth, The Kimbell Art Museum, The Drawings of François Boucher, 2003-4, (catalogue by Alastair Laing), p. 134, cat. no. 46, reproduced p. 135

Catalogue Note

Putti and cupids are abundant throughout Boucher’s oeuvre, not only as part of larger compositions, but as stand-alone studies like the present drawing.  The vast number of prints of putti and cupids that were executed after Boucher’s originals demonstrates the popularity of these charming, sweet and delightful figures. We are grateful to Alastair Laing, who, from recently seeing the original, has reaffirmed the attribution to Boucher.  Alastair Laing discusses the difficulty in precisely dating the drawing due to the fact there is no drawing, painting or engraving that it relates to, but he compares it to other cupids that appear in paintings of the 1750s.  In particular he compares the lower cupid with two in Apollo Revealing His Divinity to Issé  (1750) in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Tours, with one in the Beauvais tapestry of The Slumber of Rinaldo (1752), and with two in the group of three that appear upper right in Venus in Vulcan’s Forge (1757).1

The Berger drawing is a tender and sweet portrayal of two winged putti or cupids softly rendered in black and white chalk.  It is an image that is undeniably associated with Boucher and a recurring theme that runs throughout his diverse career, one that was wholeheartedly embraced by the adoring collectors of his time.

1. Exhib. cat., op.cit., p. 134, under no. 46