Alongside Fragonard and Watteau, Boucher ranks among the most important French artists of the eighteenth century. All three are well represented in the museum’s collection. Boucher was a master draughtsman as well as a painter and printmaker. He made studies for paintings, but also autonomous works of art for the market. Many of his sheets depict female nudes, often the Graces or other goddesses or nymphs, attended by putti. Boucher initially worked from live models in the studio. However, he was a perceptive observer and later drew figures from memory. This sheet was intended as a study, as we see from Boucher’s experiments with the position of the woman’s left arm, the cursory treatment of her hair, and the unfinished left leg. On the far left, he repeated the folds of skin around her waist. That section of the sheet was apparently cropped at a later stage. The fact that the figure is shown on a dolphin suggests that she represents a water nymph. And from the style of the drawing—the animal’s roughly sketched head between the woman’s outspread legs—we may assume that the sheet was a study. However, the motif does not appear in any of Boucher’s known paintings. The explicit eroticism in Boucher’s nude drawings is toned down in his paintings. [text: Albert Elen], Boucher made several drawings of naked women who posed for him in his studio. That this drawing is a study from life is apparent from Boucher's experiments with the position of the woman's left arm, which is unfinished. The woman straddles a dolphin's head, suggesting that she is a naiad or water nymph. In his paintings Boucher toned down the erotic element in nude studies of this type.
elise kerner asked
hello, I'd be interested in getting infomation about the acquisition history of the female nude on a dolphin from Boucher. Thank you in advance for your answer. Best regards,
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered
This drawing has been acquired as part of the Koenigs Collection. The foundation of the museum acquired it from D.G. van Beuningen as a donation. Before that the drawing was owned by Franz W. Koenigs and before him Julius Wilhelm Böhler. For more information on the Koenigs Collection see: http://public.boijmans.nl/koenigs/PortalFK8.pdf
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|Title||Reclining Female Nude on a Dolphin|
|Material and technique||Red chalk, heightened with white|
Drawing > Two-dimensional object > Art object
Height 307 mm
Width 390 mm
|Accession number||F I 243 (PK)|
|Credits||Bruikleen / Loan: Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen 1940 (voormalige collectie / former collection Koenigs)|
|Department||Drawings & Prints|
|Age artist||Between 22 and 32 years old|
|Collector||Collector / Franz Koenigs|
Van Pisanello tot Cézanne (1992)
De Collectie Twee - wissel I, Prenten & Tekeningen (2009)
Boijmans bij de Buren - Meesterlijk! (2019)
Highlight > Painting technique > Technique > Material and technique
|Geographical origin||France > Western Europe > Europe|