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1703 - Paris - 1770 


Sketch with a boy lying on the ground and other figures - 1735


Etching after Abraham Bloemaert (Dutch, 1564-1651). Size of sheet: 18 x 24.4 cm. Signed in plate ‘Boucher Sulpsit’. 


Baudicour p.99, n.174; Jean-Richard 179.II, Stein 2013, p.159 (illust.93); Goncourt 271. 

Superb impression on laid watermarked paper with wide margins around the platemark. The sheet is in mint condition, without any faults.


Comparative impressions: Metropolitan Museum of Art – 49.95.476(5).



François Boucher after Watteau: Sketch with a Boy

  • Plate 5 from the series of 12 etchings 'Livre d’étude d’après les desseins originaux de Blomart' [Sketch book after original drawings by Bloemaert], published by Michel Odieuvre in Paris in 1735.

    Livre d’étude d’après les desseins originaux de Blomart was announced in June 1735. Boucher was a great admirer of the Dutch artist and often used Bloemart’s figures in his landscapes. Perhaps Boucher’s encounter with Bloemaert’s drawings happened in Rome, where a group of about 40 sheets of studies of peasants from life done by Abraham Bloemaert was in a collection available to the pensionnaires of the Académie de France in Rome. Boucher made numerous copies of them between 1728-1730. The twelve prints from the series that followed are highly aestheticized by Boucher’s style. The etched lines suggest speed and lightness, so typical to Boucher’s art. The artist’s engagement with the art of the Northern Europe continued throughout his life and had a strong influence on several of his students, such as Jean Honoré Fragonard and Jean-Baptiste Le Prince.

    After a short training with his father, also an artist, Boucher entered the studio of a French rococo painter François Lemoine (1688-1737). In 1723 Boucher won the first prize at the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, which entitled him to a scholarship of 3 years in Rome. However, due to some delays, he couldn’t use this scholarship. He only left for Italy in 1727 with the financial support of some collector, probably the duc d’Antin. He returned to Paris in 1731 and soon after was agréé [accredited] by the Academy as a peintre d’histoire. As a printmaker Boucher etched 31 plates after Watteau between 1722 and 1727, and 12 prints after Bloemaert in 1735. In total, he produced 43 etchings. He was named professor of drawing and engraving to Madame de Pompadour in 1751, and succeeded Carle Van Loo as premier peintre du roi and director of the Academy in 1765.


  • Perrin Stein, Artists and Amateurs/Etching in 18th-century France, 2013;

    Alexandre Ananoff, François Boucher, 1976;

    John Ittmann et al, Regency to Empire: French Printmaking 1715-1814, 1985.

    Philippe de Montebello et al., François Boucher, 1986.

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