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$ 3,600

Two Portrait Studies of Young Boys (possibly artist's sons)

Documentation Signed
Documentation Notes Provenance: Chester Dale Collection (Founding Benefactor of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.)
Origin France
Period 18th Century
W. 5.25 in; H. 3.5 in;
W. 13.34 cm; H. 8.89 cm;
Condition Good.
Description Framed: 10" w x 8.5" h

Son of a wood sculptor, who was his only teacher, Louis Boilly left La Basse in Northern France in 1775 for Douon, where a relative of his lived. His relative, the prior of the Augustine order there, helped him to follow his affinity for art. In 17779 Louis went to Arras, where he painted over 300 portraits. He then moved to Paris in 1784 where his first works were “scènes galantes,” all popularized by engravings.
Monsieur Calvet de Lapalnars from the south of France commissioned Boilly to paint “amiable” pictures, less risqué than many that Boilly had painted on his own. Boilly’s works were reproduced by engravings during the Revolution by Tresca, Cazeneure, Petit, Chaponnier, and Bonnefay.
The engravings were extremely popular with the masses, but nearly cost Boilly his head. He was asked by the Revolutionaries to burn his works at the foot of the Tree of Liberty, and the painter Joseph Wicar denounced him to the Republican Society of Arts.
Boilly demonstrated the innocence of his intentions, and asked to be allowed entry into the Society, as he had already removed al the works they would have considered “dangerous” from his studio. He quickly painted Marat in Triomphe, and was let off the hook.
Boilly did not change his style, but painted scenes of the period and portraits of then-famous men. He finally received the Legion of Honour in 1833 under Louis Philippe, when Boilly was 71 years old.
Boilly’s famous collection of grimaces was a result of the invention of lithography. He did what he could to make a living, as he was always poor and the ability to quickly reproduce his work helped greatly. He invented certain optical mechanisms to light his paintings and a special varnish, the recipe of which was closely guarded. His “transparent” paintings, which use this particular varnish, have been lost, but his regular works have a remarkable freshness.
His drawings are lead pencil and conté crayon heightened with white, ink heightened with sepia, and india ink with ink wash, all very fine. Boilly also did many miniature paintings on glass and oil on paper glued to canvas. His works appear in over a dozen museums, including many works at the Louvre Museum in Paris.

This drawing was featured in the Chester Dale Collection from January 31st, 2010 through July 31st, 2011, in the West Building of the Central Gallery, organized by the National Gallery of Art.
Wall Street investor Chester Dale’s 1962 bequest made the National Gallery of Art one of the leading North American repositories of French art of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This unprecedented exhibition brings together eighty-one of the finest French and American paintings that Dale and his wife, Maud, an artist and critic, assembled largely from the1920s through the 1950s.
Chester Dale's magnificent bequest to the National Gallery of Art in 1962 included a generous endowment as well as one of America's most important collections of French painting from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This special exhibition, the first in 45 years to explore the extraordinary legacy left to the nation by this passionate collector, features some 83 of his finest French and American paintings.
Among the masterpieces on view are Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot's Forest of Fontainebleau(1834), Auguste Renoir's A Girl with a Watering Can (1876), Mary Cassatt's Boating Party(1893/1894), Edouard Manet's Old Musician (1862), Pablo Picasso's Family of Saltimbanques(1905), and George Bellows' Blue Morning (1909). Other artists represented include Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, and Claude Monet.
Dale was an astute businessman who made his fortune on Wall Street in the bond market. He thrived on forging deals and translated much of this energy and talent into his art collecting. He served on the board of the National Gallery of Art from 1943 and as president from 1955 until his death in 1962. Portraits of Dale by Salvador Dalí and Diego Rivera are included in the show, along with portraits of Dale's wife Maud (who greatly influenced his interest in art) painted by George Bellows and Fernand Léger.
Styles / Movements Old Master, Other
Incollect Reference Number 308485
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