FRANÇOIS BOUCHER | RECTO: YOUNG MAN MESMERIZED BY A NYMPH PLAYING THE FLUTE, VERSO: FRAGMENT OF A MALE ACADEMY NUDE
Paris 1703 - 1770
RECTO: YOUNG MAN MESMERIZED BY A NYMPH PLAYING THE FLUTE
VERSO: FRAGMENT OF A MALE ACADEMY NUDE
Black chalk and stumping and red chalk, heightened with white (recto) red chalk (verso);
signed(?) in brown ink, lower right: f. Boucher
6¼ by 9 in.; 163 by 230 mm.
Hinge mounted to a modern decorative mount. There is some slight toning to the sheet. The combination of media remains in delightful condition throughout with the image strong and the media fresh and vibrant. Sold in a giltwood frame.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
With Kate de Rothschild, London, by 1989
Drawn in a refined combination of black and red chalk with abundant stumping and given a wonderful sense of luminosity through the skillful application of white heightening, the present drawing is a fine example of Boucher’s treatment of a quintessentially Rococo subject matter, that of a rustic flirtation between a seemingly besotted young man and his female companion, who plays the flute. This subject matter derives from Antoine Watteau’s L’Indiscret,1 and was employed by Boucher himself with great finesse, in two crayon-manner engravings titled Les plaisirs innocens2 as well as his Ismene et Daphnis.3
The composition of the present work is also known through an inferior version in the collection of the Cooper Hewitt Museum, New York,4 which though still regarded there as an autograph work by the artist, is notably weaker in its execution than the Rohatyn drawing.
We are grateful to Alastair Laing for endorsing the attribution to Boucher upon first hand inspection of the drawing, and for his assistance in the cataloguing of this lot.
1. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, inv. no. 2588
2. P. Jean-Richard, L'oeuvre gravé de François Boucher: François Boucher dans la collection Edmond de Rothschild, Musée du Louvre, Cabinet des Dessins Collection Edmond de Rothschild, Inventaire général des gravures: École français, I, Paris 1978, pp. 200-201, nos. 741 and 742, reproduced
3. Ibid., no. 949
4. The Cooper Hewitt Museum, New York, inv. no. 1938-57-250