Inscription

upper right on lintel beneath lion: f. Boucher / 1750

Provenance

Painted for Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, marquise de Pompadour [1721-1764], and installed in the chambre doré on the first [i.e., second] floor of the Château de Bellevue, outside Paris; removed c. 1757; recorded 1764 in the vestibule of the ground floor of the Hôtel d'Evreux, Pompadour's Parisian residence; by inheritance to her brother, Abel François Poisson, marquis de Ménars et de Marigny [1727-1781], Château de Ménars, Paris; (his estate sale, at his residence by Basan and Joullain, Paris, 18 March-6 April 1782 [postponed from late February], no. 17). (sale, Hôtel des Commissaires-Priseurs, Paris, 14-15 March 1842, no. 15). (anonymous sale ["Provenant du Cabinet de M. X***], Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 26 April 1861, no. 2). Emile [1800-1875] and Isaac [1806-1880] Pereire, Paris; (Péreire sale, at their residence by Pillet and Petit, Paris, 6-9 March 1872, no. 57, as Le Mouton chéri or Le messager); purchased by Sommier, possibly for Frédéric-Alexis-Louis Pillet-Will, comte Pillet [1837-1911], Paris.[1] (Wildenstein & Co., Inc., Paris, New York, and London); sold to William R. Timken [1866-1949], New York, by 1932;[2] by inheritance to his widow, Lillian Guyer Timken [1881-1959], New York; bequest 1960 to NGA.

Exhibition History
1753
Salon, Paris, 1753, under no. 181.
1932
Exhibition of French Art 1200-1900, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1932, no. 228.
1935
French Painting and Sculpture of the XVIII Century, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1935-1936, unnumbered catalogue, pl. 29.
1940
Masterpieces of Art. European & American Paintings 1500-1900, New York World's Fair, 1940, no. 192.
1973
François Boucher in North American Collections: One Hundred Drawings, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Art Institute of Chicago, 1973-1974, unnumbered brochure for Washington venue (shown only in Washington).
Bibliography
1864
Brüger, W. "Galerie de MM. Pereire." Gazette des Beaux-Arts 1st ser., 17 (1864): 201.
1880
Goncourt, Edmond de, and Jules de Goncourt. L'art du dix-huitième siècle. 2 vols. Paris, 1880: I:196.
1880
Mantz, Paul. François Boucher, Lemoyne et Natoire. Paris, 1880: 130 (possibly)
1906
Michel, André. François Boucher. Paris, 1906: no. 1438.
1907
Nolhac, Pierre de. François Boucher: premier peintre du roi. Paris, 1907: 157
1932
Wildenstein, Georges. "L'Exposition de l'art français a Londres: Le XVIIIe siècle." Gazette des Beaux-Arts. 6th ser., vol. 7 (1932): repro. p. 63
1932
Wildenstein, Georges. "Paintings from America in the French Exhibition." The Fine Arts 18 (January 1932): 26, repro.
1939
Cordey, Jean. Inventaire des biens de Madame de Pompadour rédigé après don décès. Paris, 1939: no. 1231
1963
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1963 (reprinted 1964 in French, German, and Spanish): 317, repro.
1965
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 18
1968
European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 10, repro.
1975
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 40, repro.
1975
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1975: 336, no. 448, repro.
1976
Ananoff, Alexandre. "François Boucher et l'Amérique." L'Oeil 251 (June 1976): 21.
1976
Ananoff, Alexandre, with Daniel Wildenstein. François Boucher. 2 vols. Lausanne and Paris, 1976: 2:66, no. 364, repro.
1976
Bordeaux, Jean-Luc. "The Epitome of the Pastoral Genre in Boucher's Oeuvre: The Fountain of Love and The Bird Catcher from The Noble Pastoral." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 3 (1976): 87, repro.
1978
Jean-Richard, Pierrette. L'Oeuvre grave de Francois Boucher, dans la Collection Edmond de Rothschild. Paris, 1978: 346.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 334, no. 444, color repro.
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 59, repro.
1986
Brunel, Georges. Boucher. New York, 1986: 177, 247, 273, figs. 143, 227.
1992
From El Greco to Cezanne, Pincothèque Nationale Musée Alexandros Soutzos, Athens, 1992, under no. 27
2002
Madam de Pompadour et les arts. Exh. cat. Musée national des château de Versailles et de Trianon; Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Munich; National
Gallery, London, 2002-2003: 245, under no. 96.
2005
The Arts of France from François Ier to Napoléon Ier. A Centennial Celebration of Wildenstein's Presence in New York. Exh. cat. Wildenstein & Co., Inc., New York, 2005: 78 (not in the exhibition).
2009
Conisbee, Philip, et al. French Paintings of the Fifteenth through the Eighteenth Century. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 2009: no. 2, 12-18, color repro.