Boucher, François (fräNswäˈ bōshāˈ) [key], 1703–70, French painter. Boucher's art embodied the spirit of his time; it was elegant, frivolous, and artificial. He studied briefly with François Le Moyne but was also influenced by Watteau, many of whose works he engraved. At the age of 20 he won the Grand Prix, and from 1727 to 1731 he studied in Italy. On his return he rapidly became the most fashionable painter of his day and a teacher and favorite of Mme de Pompadour. He produced a vast number of pictures, decorations, tapestry designs, stage settings for ballet and opera, and fine etchings. As a result, Boucher enjoyed many academic and official honors including that of director of the Gobelins tapestry works. Fragonard was his pupil for a time. The Louvre and the Wallace Collection, London, excel in selections of Boucher's work. He is well represented in the United States by his Toilet of Venus and Birth and Triumph of Venus in the Metropolitan Museum, New York City. Fine examples of his work are in the Frick Collection, New York City, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
See study by A. Laing (1986).
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