François Boucher (artist)|
French, 1703 - 1770
Madame Bergeret, possibly 1766
oil on canvas
overall: 143.5 x 105.4 cm (56 1/2 x 41 1/2 in.) framed: 172.4 x 134.3 cm (67 7/8 x 52 7/8 in.)
Samuel H. Kress Collection
Object 4 of 9
As a young artist, Boucher engraved the works of Watteau for publication. Engravings like his, often with verses added, spread the rococo style across Europe. Boucher himself became the most fashionable artist in France under the patronage of Madame de Pompadour, Louis XV's powerful mistress, whose refined tastes influenced French art for two decades. It may have been either the husband or the brother of the woman in this painting who introduced the young artist to his future patron.
Of the more than one thousand paintings Boucher produced, only about twenty are portraits. Contemporaries noted that the artist had difficulty capturing a likeness, a handicap thought in the 1700s to be less severe for women's portraits than men's, since flattery could substitute for veracity. The pale colors, rich fabrics, and rustic touch of the straw hat are typical of Boucher's style. It captured the grace of a pampered way of life, in which, as a contemporary noted, "we really have nothing else to do but to seek pleasant sensations and feelings."
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