The Drawings of François Boucher
Alastair Laing and Pierre Rosenberg
- Published to accompany the new exhibition at The Frick Collection, New York
- Features new research into his drawings
A celebrated painter in 18th century France who eventually became premier peintre to Louis XV in 1765, François Boucher (1703–70) was equally gifted as a draftsman. During a period when draftsmanship was practised primarily as an academic exercise and as an important step in the development of painted compositions, Boucher was unusual in that he drew continually for his own pleasure. His best-known drawings exemplify the intimate and light-hearted style of rococo, which dominated much of the 18th century. Remarkably prolific, he produced some 10,000 drawings during his career, often employing his wife and children as sitters. In addition, he was one of the first artists to cultivate important collectors for his drawings, exploiting the developing taste in Europe and elsewhere for drawings as autonomous works of art. Published in association with the American Federation of Arts to accompany an exhibition at the Frick Collection, New York, in 2003 celebrating the tercentenary of the artist’s birth, this outstanding book assembles new research on Boucher’s drawings, situating the work in its cultural context, as well as examining Boucher’s role in shaping the growing market for drawings in 18th century France. It explores Boucher’s development as a draftsman, his range of subjects, contemporary appeal, and innovations in the medium, and discusses Boucher’s technique, style, and intentions in the context of the great French draftsmen of his time.