In the decades before he was appointed first painter to King Louis XV in 1765, François Boucher painted many cabinet-sized pictures of a wide variety of subjects for private collectors. Although best known for his sensuous mythological and pastoral paintings, during this early period Boucher also experimented with subjects from everyday life, including peasant “low-life” scenes inspired by seventeenth-century Northern European art. The Beautiful Country Woman (La Belle Villageoise) lacks the coarse or satirical features often associated with Dutch paintings of this subject, however. Instead, Boucher treats with great sympathy the young country woman surrounded by her three robust yet scruffy children in a humble domestic interior. In front of the family, on the kitchen floor, Boucher has rendered a Dutch-inspired still life of copper pots and plump root vegetables to underscore the association between peasant life, simplicity and closeness to nature.
- Artist Name: François Boucher (French, 1703-1770)
- Title: Beautiful Country Woman
- Date: c. 1732
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Dimensions: 16-1/8 x 12 in. (41.0 x 30.5 cm)
- Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation, Gift of Jennifer Jones Simon
- Accession Number: M.1999.1.P
- Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation
W... collection, Paris (sale, Paris, 17 February 1802, lot 44).
Vicomte Aguado, Marquis de la Marismas (sale, Paris, 18-22 April 1843, lot 3).
Cousin (sale, Paris, 20 December 1847, no. 41).
Ridgway, by 1883/1884, by descent to;
Marquise de Ganay, née Ridgway, in 1909 - (sale, Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, 8-10 March 1922, lot 30, to);
Stettiner, buying for;
Odgen Mills (d. 1929), by descent to his daughter;
Lady Beatrice Granard, née Mills (1874-1948, wife of Bernard Arthur Forbes, 8th Earl of Granard), London.
Charles E. Dunlap (1888-1966), New York (sale, New York, Parke-Bernet, 13 April 1963, lot 114, ill., as La Belle Villageoise, to);
[Wildenstein & Co., Inc., New York; sold 1979 to];
Norton Simon, acc. N.1979.01.1.P., by bequest 1993 to;
Jennifer Jones Simon, gift 1999 to;
Norton Simon Art Foundation.
Laing, Alastair, The Dictionary of Art, p. 331
Rosenberg, Pierre & M. Hilaire, Boucher-60 chefs d'oeuvre, no. 15
Nevill, R., French Prints of the 18th century, pp. 118-119
Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, cat. 1565 p. 421
Bailey, C., The First Painters of the King: French Royal Taste from Louis XIV to the Revolution, no. 75 p. 133
Dreyfus, C., Les Arts, pp. 6-7, 11
Goncourt, Edmond; and Jules Goncourt, L'art du XIIIme siècle, (1881 ed. p. 201) p. 190
Posner, Donald, Art Bulletin, fig. 17 p. 100
Gazette de Beaux-Arts, no. 49 p. 52
Michel, André, François Boucher, p. 30
Galerie Georges Petit, L'art XIIIeme siècle, no. 11
Comstock, Helen, Antiques, p. 248
Kahn, G., François Boucher, p. 25
La Renaissance, p. 349
Ananoff, Alexandre, L'oeuvre deissiné de François Boucher (1703-1770), no. 13
Michel, André, François Boucher, no. 1136 pp. 63, 152, 169, 170
Rosenberg, Pierre, The Painted Cat: the cat in Western painting from the fifteenth to the twentieth century, pp. 136-137
Ananoff, Alexandre, François Boucher, item 100, no. 78, fig. 341 pp. 15, 210-212, opp. page 208
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