- Other Titles
- Portrait of Madame Boucher
Presumed portrait of Madame Boucher
- Alternative title
- Portrait présumé de Madame Boucher
- mid 1740s
- Media category
- Materials used
- oil on canvas
- 34.5 x 28.6 cm oval; 49.0 x 42.5 x 7.5 cm frame
- Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
- Gift of James Fairfax AC 1992
- Grand Courts
- Accession number
- Artist information
Works in the collection
Thanks to his great attention to detail and a
characteristic sense of delight, François Boucher
is often considered the greatest artist and
decorator of the French Rococo period. The
unidentified model in this painting is depicted
with a casual elegance and informality that were
new in painting of this period, while still in keeping
with 18th-century ideals of physical beauty.
With powdered hair, whitened face and rouged
cheeks, she has a mouche (or beauty spot) at
the corner of her right eye. She has removed the
ribbon from her powdering mantle and has used
it to tie up her lapdog – a pug. Dogs often had a
suggestive symbolism in paintings of the era, and
this coquettish woman may be portrayed in the
role of the teasing mistress.
Shown in 12 exhibitions
François Boucher (1703-1770), Galerie Charpentier, Paris, 09 Jun 1932–10 Jul 1932
Réhabilitation du sujet, Galerie Seligmann, Paris, 17 Nov 1934–09 Dec 1934
Portraits français, de 1400 à 1900, Galerie Seligmann, Paris, 09 Jun 1936–01 Jul 1936
François Boucher: premier peintre du roi 1703-1770, Galerie Cailleux, Paris, May 1964–Jun 1964
France in the eighteenth century, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 06 Jan 1968–03 Mar 1968
Paintings and drawings from Agnew's London, David Jones' Art Gallery, Sydney, Sydney, 07 Oct 1970–24 Oct 1970
'Private treasures': an exhibition of art from Australian private collectors covering a period of five centuries, David Jones' Art Gallery, Sydney, Sydney, 10 Jan 1978–21 Jan 1978
The James Fairfax collection of old masters, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Apr 1992–14 Jun 1992
Great gifts, great patrons, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 17 Aug 1994–19 Oct 1994
The James Fairfax collection of old master paintings, drawings and prints, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 17 Apr 2003–20 Jul 2003
Archie Plus, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 26 Sep 2020–07 Mar 2021
Grand Courts Collection Rehang, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Nov 2021–2025
Referenced in 28 publications
Alexandre Ananoff, François Boucher, Lausanne, 1976, vol.1, 384 (illus.). no. 268, fig.no. 801
Alexandre Ananoff, L'opera completa di Boucher, Milan, 1980, 107 (illus.), 108. cat.no. 278
Art Gallery of New South Wales, The James Fairfax collection of old masters, Sydney, 1992, cover (colour illus). no catalogue numbers
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Great gifts, great patrons: an exhibition celebrating private patronage of the Gallery, Sydney, 1994. no catalogue numbers
Richard Beresford and Peter Raissis, The James Fairfax collection of old master paintings, drawings and prints, Sydney, 2003, 36 (colour illus.), 37-39. cat.no. 7
Georges Brunel, Boucher, London, 1987, 44.
Jean Cailleux, The Burlington Magazine, 'Who was Boucher's best beloved?', Feb 1966, iv, v (illus.), vi. fig. 5, note 20
Edmund Capon, Christie's International Magazine, 'The James O. Fairfax collection', London, Oct 1994-Oct 1994, 7 (illus.).
Edmund Capon, Great philanthropists on trial : the art of the bequest, 'The James Fairfax collection', pg.126-135, Melbourne, 2006, 129.
Pierre du Colombier, Journal de l'Amateur d'Art [no.333], 'Francois Boucher', 10 Jun 1964, 17 (illus.).
David Jones' Art Gallery, Sydney, 'Private treasures': an exhibition of art from Australian private collectors covering a period of five centuries, Sydney, 1978. cat.no. 8
Pierre de Nolhac, François Boucher, premier peintre du roi, Paris, 1907, opp. p. 98 (illus.). as collection Bardac
Pierre de Nolhac, François Boucher, premier peintre du Rois, revised edition, Paris, 1925, opp. p. 168 (illus.). as formerly collection Bardac
Catherin Fisher, Apollo, CXXXVIII, 388, 'James Fairfax: a remarkable collector of old masters', pg. 3-8, London, Jun 1994, 4, 6. fig. 3
Joshua James Foster (Editor), French art from Watteau to Prud'hon, London, 1905-1906, vol.2, opp. p.104 (illus.). plate no. XXXI, 'A young lady holding a pug dog' as collection Wertheimer
Renée Free, AGNSW Collections, 'The Western Heritage, Renaissance to Twentieth Century', pg. 108-172, Sydney, 1994, 124 (colour illus.).
Galerie Cailleux, François Boucher: premier peintre du roi 1703-1770, Paris, 1964, (illus.). cat.no. 31
Galerie Charpentier, François Boucher (1703-1770), Paris, 1932, 44. cat.no.99
Galerie Seligmann, Réhabilitation du sujet, 1934, 27. cat.no.14
Galerie Seligmann, Portraits français, de 1400 à 1900, 1936, 42. cat.no.46
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Western Collection: Paintings and Sculpture', pg. 17-77, Sydney, 1999, 30 (colour illus.).
Royal Academy of Arts, France in the eighteenth century, London, 1968, 48. cat.no. 45
Regina Shoolman Slatkin, François Boucher: his circle and influence, 'A portrait by Boucher', pg.10-13, New York, 1987, 10. note 4
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, François Boucher, 1703-1770, New York, 1986, 196. under cat.no. 38
Editor Unknown (Editor), The Connoisseur, London, Sep 1964, 49.
Paintings and drawings from Agnew's, London, Sydney, 1970. cat.no. 27
Editor Unknown (Editor), Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 'Chronique des arts', Unknown, Mar 1993, 31 (illus.). no. 149
C.J. Wertheimer, 1906, London/England, by 1906, listed in 'French art from Watteau to Prud'hon' by Joshua James Foster, vol.2 1906, as collection Wertheimer
Joseph Bardac, 1907-pre 1925, Paris/France, by 1907, listed in 'François Boucher, premier peintre du roi' by Pierre de Nolhac 1907, as collection Joseph Bardac. Not listed in 1925 edition.
Hector Pétin, 1932-1964, Paris/France, by 1932, lent by Hector Pétin to 'François Boucher (1703-1770)', Galerie Jean Charpentier 1932
Mme Hector Pétin, 1964-05 Mar 1970, Paris/France, by 1964, lent by Mme. Pétin to 'François Boucher: premier peintre du roi 1703-1770' Galerie Cailleux May-June 1964. Sold Palais Galliera, 5 March 1970, lot no.16 'Dessins, aquarelles et tableaux anciens; tableaux modernes; objet d'art; meubles et sièges; suites d'importantes tapisseries.'
Agnew's, London, 05 Mar 1970-Oct 1970, London/England, Purchased by Agnew's from Palais Galliera, 5 March 1970, lot no. 16. Agnew's stock number 32603. Sold to James Fairfax, October 1970. Purchased by Fairfax from the exhibition 'Paintings and drawings from Agnew's London' held at David Jones Art Gallery, Sydney 7-24 October 1970.
James Oswald Fairfax AC, Oct 1970-04 Jun 1992, Bowral/New South Wales/Australia, Gift of James Fairfax 1992. Purchased by James Fairfax from Agnew's 1970.