- Boucher, François
Bou·cher (bo͞o-shāʹ), François. 1703-1770.
French artist whose paintings and tapestries are representative of the rococo style.
* * *born Sept. 29, 1703, Paris, Fr.died May 30, 1770, ParisFrench painter, engraver, and designer.He was probably trained by his father, a minor painter. In 1723 he won the Prix de Rome, but he was unable to travel to Italy until 1728. For his first major commission he produced 125 engravings of drawings by Antoine Watteau. He executed important decorative commissions for Madame de Pompadour at Versailles. His playful style and frivolous subject matter exemplify the Rococo style and embody the elegant superficiality of French court life in the mid 18th century. He became a member of the Royal Academy in 1734, a principal designer for the royal porcelain factories, and director of the Gobelins tapestry factory. In 1765 he was appointed director of the Royal Academy and first painter to Louis XV. One of the great painters and draftsmen of the 18th century, he mastered every branch of decorative and illustrative painting.
* * *▪ French artistborn Sept. 29, 1703, Paris, Francedied May 30, 1770, Parispainter, engraver, and designer whose works are regarded as the perfect expression of French taste in the Rococo period.Trained by his father, a lace designer, Boucher won the Prix de Rome in 1723. He was influenced by the works of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Peter Paul Rubens, and his teacher François Le Moyne. Boucher's first major commission was for engravings of 125 drawings by Antoine Watteau (Watteau, Antoine). After illustrating an edition of Molière's works, he drew cartoons of farmyard scenes and chinoiserie for the Beauvais tapestry factory.Boucher first won fame with his sensuous and light-hearted mythological paintings and pastoral landscapes. He executed important decorative commissions for the queen at Versailles and for his friend and patron, Mme de Pompadour, at Versailles, Marly, and Bellevue. He became a member of the Royal Academy in 1734 and then became the principal producer of designs for the royal porcelain factories, as well as director of the Gobelins tapestry factory. In 1765 he became director of the Royal Academy and held the title of first painter to King Louis XV.During the 1740s and '50s Boucher's elegant and refined but playful style became the hallmark of the court of Louis XV. His work was characterized by the use of delicate colours, gently modeled forms, facile technique, and light-hearted subject matter. Boucher is generally acclaimed as one of the great draftsmen of the 18th century, particularly in his handling of the female nude.Although immensely successful, Boucher lost his artistic preeminence toward the end of his life; overproduction, poor translations of his paintings into tapestries, the growing sterility of his own work, and the emergence of Neoclassicism caused him to lose favour, both with the public and with such leading art critics as Denis Diderot.Additional ReadingIan McInnes, Painter, King & Pompadour: François Boucher at the Court of Louis XV (1965); Georges Brunel, Boucher (1986; originally published in French, 1986); David Wakefield, Boucher (2005); Melissa Hyde, Making Up the Rococo: François Boucher and His Critics (2006).
* * *