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Reclining Female Nude on a Dolphin

Reclining Female Nude on a Dolphin

François Boucher (in circa 1730-1740)

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  • 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

    Hello Elise,
    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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More information

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]

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Collection book

Collection book Order


Title Reclining Female Nude on a Dolphin
Material and technique Red chalk, heightened with white
Object type
Drawing > Two-dimensional object > Art object
Location This object is in storage
Dimensions Height 307 mm
Width 390 mm
Artists Draughtsman: François Boucher
Accession number F I 243 (PK)
Credits Loan Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (former Koenigs collection), 1940
Department Drawings & Prints
Acquisition date 1940
Creation date in circa 1730-1740
Collector Collector / Franz Koenigs
Internal exhibitions Van Pisanello tot Cézanne (1992)
De Collectie Twee - wissel I, Prenten & Tekeningen (2009)
External exhibitions Boijmans bij de Buren - Meesterlijk! (2019)
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen @ Rijksmuseum (2023)
Highlight > Painting technique > Technique > Material and technique
Geographical origin France > Western Europe > Europe

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All about the artist

François Boucher

Parijs 1703 - Parijs 1770

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