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This artwork, Vénus presenting Aeneas to Jupiter and Juno by François Boucher, is currently for sale at Galerie Eric Coatalem.
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François Boucher, Vénus presenting Aeneas to Jupiter and Juno
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TITLE:  Vénus presenting Aeneas to Jupiter and Juno
ARTIST:  François Boucher (French, 1703–1770)
MATERIALS:  Pen and brown ink and wash over black chalk, extensively heightened with white, on light brown.
SIZE:  H. 214 mm; L. 305 mm
PRICE*:  Contact Gallery for Price
GALLERY:  Galerie Eric Coatalem  +33 (0)1 42 66 17 17  Send Email
DESCRIPTION:  This important, newly discovered drawing is a working study for one of a pair of horizontal oval paintings by Boucher representing the story of Aeneas, commissioned in 1746 for the apartments of the Dauphin at Versailles but rejected by the patron upon completion, and instead taken over by Louis XV for his bedchamber at Marly. When Marly was emptied of its contents, the paintings were separated; the one representing Venus commanding arms for Aeneas from Vulcan made its way to the Louvre, via the collection of Dr. Louis La Caze, while the Venus presenting Aeneas to Jupiter and Juno was lost to view, partially overpainted, sold to America and then to President Marcos of the Philippines, rediscovered and published in 1977, and finally returned to Marly, where it remains today.

There exist two oil sketches en camaïeu brun for this painting (one apparently a copy of the other), which differ significantly from both the finished painting and the present drawing: the most important of these differences are the absence of the Cupid over Venus’head, the pose of Aeneas, and the general treatment of the areas behind and below him. Taking all these differences into account, Alastair Laing concludes that this drawing must represent an intermediate stage in the composition’s development, between the oil sketch and the finished painting: in the drawing, as in the final painting, the area towards the bottom right which remains largely empty in the oil sketch is more satisfactorily (though still differently) resolved, and the pose of Aeneas appears to be transitional between the two painted versions. Alastair Laing has also pointed out that the very extensive use of white heightening and the fact that some compositional elements, particularly towards the right, were clearly drawn on top of this heightening, attest to the drawing’s intermediate role in Boucher’s development of his composition.

We are very grateful to Alastair Laing, who has examined the drawing in the original, for providing the above information. Please also note that he has requested the loan of his drawing for the Boucher drawings exhibition he is organizing, to be held in 2003-4 at the Frick Collection, New York, and the Kimbell Museum of Art, Fort Worth.

PROVENANCE:  Probably Claude-Henri Watelet, his posthumous sale, Paris, 12 June 1786, in lot 167 : (Deux charmantes compositions, de format ovale en travers, à la plume et au bistre, représentant Vénus et Enée”, 210 livres).
ONLINE CATALOGUE(S):  Some works available at the gallery
LITERATURE:  A. Michel, François Boucher, Paris, 1906, n° 135, 195, 450.
P. De Nolhac, François Boucher Premier peintre du Roi, Paris, 1907, p.118 et 134
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