François Boucher (French, Paris 1703–1770 Paris) and Workshop
Oil on canvas
Irregular, 44 3/4 x 63 3/4 in. (113.7 x 161.9 cm)
Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman Gift, 1969
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 525
Carved and gilded surrounds were supplied by Alavoine, Paris, in 1969, to be installed over the two original pairs of doors in The Met’s room from the hôtel de Varengeville (63.228.1). They were fitted with a pair of overdoors contemporary with the woodwork and acquired that same year. Each painting is signed and dated by Boucher in 1753 and ascribed to the artist with the assistance of his workshop. Their sizes and shapes are the same, but their subjects, allegories of autumn (69.155.1) and lyric poetry (69.155.2), are unrelated. In this overdoor, a blond winged cupid has emptied a straw basket of grapes and apples on to two others below.
Over the course of his long career, Boucher repeatedly painted groups of cupids, usually three or more, as the seasons, the elements, or the arts. These were reproduced as prints by both Claude Augustin Duflos le jeune (French, 1700–1786) and Pierre Alexandre Aveline (French, 1702–1760). However, the closest correspondences are with the undated etching L’Automne, or Autumn, from the seasons by Louis Félix de La Rue (French, 1730–1777). The figure at the lower left is more or less the same in both.
[Katharine Baetjer 2014]
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower right): f.Boucher / 1753
baron Edmond de Rothschild, Château de Pregny, near Geneva (until 1969; sold to MMA)
James Parker inThe Wrightsman Collection. Vol. 3, New York, 1970, p. 14, under no. 292 (Room from the Hôtel de Varengeville, Paris), attributes them to Boucher with assistants, noting that each is signed and dated; suggests that the disparate themes of the two works indicate that they probably did not form part of the same decorative scheme.