Interrupted Supper
late 18th century
Louis-Léopold Boilly (French, 1761-1845)
Not on View

The mildly erotic subjects of Louis-Léopold Boilly’s paintings are derived from the French painting tradition of sensibilité, in which gestures and facial expressions are employed to convey the sequence of events. This painting shows the gentleman storming into the room and berating the girl for her unfaithfulness. At the same time, he is mocked by the two women, as seen through their gestures.

The confusion of the events is manifest in the toppled furnish-ings, untidy table, growling dog and the lady’s provocatively disheveled dress. The exaggerated prettiness of the women’s faces contrasts with the extreme ugliness of the old man, which verges on caricature. Boilly’s genre scenes were immensely popular, to judge from the numerous engravings made after his paintings. Many of these prints carried risqué narrative captions added
by the engravers.


  • Artist Name: Louis-Léopold Boilly (French, 1761-1845)
  • Title: Interrupted Supper
  • Date: late 18th century
  • Medium: Oil on canvas (one of a pair)
  • Dimensions: 15 x 18 in. (38.1 x 45.7 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation, Gift of Mr. Norton Simon
  • Accession Number: M.1967.23.2.P
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Object Information

4th Marquis of Hertford (1800-1870), purchased 1861/1863, by inheritance to;
Sir Richard Wallace (1818-1890), by inheritance to;
Lady Wallace (d. 1897), by inheritance to;
Sir John Murray-Scott (1843-1912, by inheritance to;
Victoria Sackville-West, Lady Sackville (1864-1936, wife of 3rd Baron S.), sold 1914 to;
[Jacques Seligmann, Paris].
[?]Mrs. George F. Baker.
Mr. and Mrs. Alfred (Lady Wallace) Löwenstein, Brussels and London; by 1930.
[E. Speelman, London; sold 21 December 1949 to];
[Thos. Agnew & Sons, Ltd., London, stock nos. 0190 and 0191, sold 18 July 1951 to];
M. T. (Mrs. Richard) Warde, London (sale, London, Christie’s, 19 March 1965, lot 70, ill., as The Interrupted Supper).
[Arthur Tooth & Sons, London, stock nos. 7752 and 7753, as Le souper interrompu, sold 9 April 1967 to];
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

Exposition Louis Boilly

  • Paris, Musée Carnavalet, 1930-05-31 to 1930-06-22
Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum, p. 113
Illustrated London News, p. 995
Ingamells, John, The Wallace Collection, Catalogue of Pictures III, French before 1815, pp. 10, 383 Appendix III
Portalis, Baron Roger; and Henri Béraldi, Les graveurs du dix-huitième siècle, p. 299
The Burlington Magazine,
Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, cat. 265B p. 277
?Steadman, David W., Art Journal,
Seligmann, G., Merchants of Art, 1880-1960: Eighty years of professional collecting, p. 269
Rizzo, Tracey, A Certain Emancipation of Women, cover
Connaissance des arts, p. 119
Harrisse, H., Louis Leopold Boilly: peinture, dessinateur et lithographe, nos. 48, and 554
Seligmann, Jacques et fils, Exposition Louis Boilly, no. 39
Wallace Collection catalogues: Pictures and drawings, p. 11
Marmottan, Paul, Le peintre Louis Boilly (1761-1845), p. 24
Thomas Agnew and Sons, Summer Exhibition of the Fine pictures by Old Masters, no. 5
Siegfried, Susan L., The Art of Louis-:Léopold Boilly: Modern Life in Napoleonic France, figs. 9, 10 p. 7-8
Mabille de Poncheville, Boilly, pp. 22, 171
California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Three Centuries of French Art: Selections from The Norton Simon, Inc. Museum of Art and the Norton Simon Foundation, no. 12
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Additional Artwork by Artist

Interrupted Supper Louis-Léopold Boilly late 18th century

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