The Louvre Pre-empts a Boucher

François Boucher (1703-1770)
The Meal during the Hunt
Oil on Canvas - 61 x 40 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre
Photo : Beaussant-Lefèvre

5/4/13 - Acquisition - Paris, Musée du Louvre - The Louvre pre-empted a study by François Boucher, A Meal during the Hunt, this afternoon at the Hôtel Drouot, at Beaussant-Lefèvre auctioneers, for 100,000 euros (without charges). The work, illustrated in the catalogue for the exhibition, Chasses exotiques de Louis XV, is known in three other versions, one of which resides at the Musée Nissim de Camondo and whose attribution to Boucher had been debated for a while by Alastair Laing, until he finally acknowledged them as indeed being by the artist [1].

A group of hunters are feasting, slumped rather than seated at the foot of a tree, close to a thatched cottage, sloven, soon drunk, visibly led by a central figure whose white clothes and arms in the form of a cross lend him an air of comical holiness. The tone of this meal is obviously not the one found in Hunting Lunch or A Pause during the Hunt painted in 1734 respectively by Jean-François de Troy and Carle Van Loo for Louis XV’s large and small dining rooms at Fontainebleau.
Boucher, de Troy, Van Loo did not depict only the pleasures of hunting, they also illustrated its more epic facets in paintings commissioned by the king. Among these, we would particularly note Lancret who represented hunting as both a form of combat and distraction, but was also the author of the famous Lunch with Ham whose delightful humor echoes that found in the work acquired by the Louvre.

Version française

Bénédicte Bonnet Saint-Georges, lundi 8 avril 2013


[1] The study at the Musée Nissim de Camondo, which measures 53 x 36 cm., had been attributed to Jean-Baptiste Oudry. The two others measure respectively 45 x 36.5 cm. and are held in private collections.

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