About This Artwork

François Boucher
French, 1703-1770

Boy with a Carrot, 1738

Pastel on buff laid paper
308 x 243 mm
Signed recto, upper right: "F. Boucher, 1738"

Helen Regenstein Collection, 1971.22

François Boucher, whose art epitomized the light-hearted sensuality of the Rococo style, was the most famous painter and decorator during the reign of Louis XV (r. 1715–74), and was championed by Madame de Pompadour, the king’s powerful mistress. Boucher seldom ventured from major paintings and decorative ensembles to do finished, independent works on paper. Nor did he pursue portraiture, apart from his depictions of royal patrons and members of his family. This engaging and fresh portrait of a boy, perhaps a studio apprentice, may well be one of Boucher’s first, and finest, forays into pastel drawing. With this adaptable and newly fashioned medium, Rococo artists were able to imbue their images with a spirited directness and sense of life. Here Boucher captured the dimple-cheeked lad just as he seems to turn, lips parted as if to speak. The youth’s attentive gaze, tousled hair, and delicately elegant city clothes herald the artist’s suave later manner as court painter. The same young model, again holding a carrot, appears in at least two paintings of pastoral subjects by Boucher.

—Entry, The Essential Guide, 1993, p. 206.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

The Art Institute of Chicago, "The Helen Regenstein Collection of European Drawings," 1974, pp. 62-63, cat. 30 (ill.), cat. by Harold Joachim.

Washington, D.C., The National Gallery of Art, "François Boucher in North American Collectons: 100 Drawings," December 23, 1973-March 17, 1974, cat. 32; also traveled to The Art Institute of Chicago, April 4-May 12, 1974.

The Art Institute of Chicago, "Selected Works of 18th Century French Art in the Collections of The Art Institute of Chicago," January 24-March 28, 1976, pp. 38 and 52, cat. 39, pl. II.

The Art Institute of Chicago, "Great Drawings from The Art Institute of Chicago: The Harold Joachim Years 1958-1983," July 24-September 30, 1985, pp. 92-93, cat. 38 (ill.), cat. by Martha Tedeschi; traveled to the St. Louis Museum of Art, 1986.

The Art Institute of Chicago, "The Broad Spectrum: Color on Paper, Past and Present," September 12–October 31, 1999, hors. cat.

New York, The Frick Collection, "The Drawings of François Boucher," October 8-December 14, 2003, cat. 22 (ill. p. 32), cat. by Alastair Laing; Fort Worth, Tex., the Kimbell Museum of Art, January 25-April 18, 2004.

Publication History

Pierre Remy, Catalogue Raisonné des Tableaux... de feu Monsieur Dezallier d'Argenville (Paris, 1766), no. 72.

E. and L. de Goncourt, L'Art du Dix-Huitième Siècle, I (Paris, 1880), p. 201.

André Michel, François Boucher (Paris, 1906), no. 2395.

Art News, 69 (December 1970), p. 53. (ill.).

The Art Quartery, 34 (1971), p. 380. (ill.).

Antiques, 101 (March 1972), p. 474 (ill.).

The Art Institute of Chicago Annual Report (1970-71), p. 12 (ill).

Harold Joachim, French Drawings and Sketchbooks of the 18th Century (Chicago, 1977), no. 1A7.

Museum Studies, 12 (1986), p. 47 (ill.).

Beverly Schreiber Jacoby “Francois Boucher’s Stylistic Development as a Draftsman: the Evolution of his Autonomous Drawings”, in: Drawings Defined, Walter Strauss and Tracie Felker (eds.), with a preface and commentary by Konrad Oberhuber (New York, 1987), pp. 262-263, fig. 5 (ill.)

Francois Boucher: his circle and influence, Catalogue of an exhibition held Sept. 30-Nov. 25, 1987, at Stair Sainty Matthiesen, New York City, with Introduction by Guy S. Sainty and Alan P. Wintermute (New York, 1987), p. 12, Fig. 5 (ill.)

James N. Wood and Sally Ruth May, The Art Institute of Chicago: The Essential Guide (Chicago, 1993), p. 206 (ill.).

Suzanne Folds McCullagh, “ ‘A Lasting Monument:’ The Regenstein Collection at The Art Institute of Chicago,” The Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies 26, 1 (2000), p. 8.

Suzanne Folds McCullagh, “Portrait of Jean Baptiste Antoine Le Moyne, 1747,” The Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies, 26, 1 (2000), pp. 48-49, no. 19, fig. 18.

Jo Hedley, François Boucher, Seductive Visions, exh. cat. (London, 2004), pp. 61-62 (ill.).

Neil Jeffares (with introduction by Pierre Rosenberg), Dictionary of Pastellists before 1800 (London, 2006), pp. 65-66 (ill.)

Ownership History

Antoine Joseph Dezallier d'Argenville; sold, Paris, 1766, Dezallier d'Argenville sale, lot 72. Randon de Boisset (died 1776); sold, Paris, February 27, 1777, de Boisset sale, lot 201. Bruun-Neergard, Denmark; sold, August 30, 1814, Bruun-Neergard sale, lot 45. Private collection, Cher-et-Loire [according to M. Adler]. Sold, Palais Galleria, Paris, December 7, 1970, lot 1. Sold by Charles E. Slatkin Gallery, New York, to the Art Institute, 1971.

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