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Part of European Paintings
François Boucher (French, Paris 1703–1770 Paris)
Date: 1751Accession Number: 20.155.9
Antoine Watteau (French, Valenciennes 1684–1721 Nogent-sur-Marne)
Date: ca. 1718–20Accession Number: 34.138
Jean-Baptiste Joseph Pater (French, Valenciennes 1695–1736 Paris)
Date: ca. 1733Accession Number: 49.7.52
Charles Joseph Natoire (French, Nîmes 1700–1777 Castel Gandolfo)
Date: 1740Accession Number: 1987.279
Date: 1765Accession Number: 66.167
Jean-Baptiste Pigalle (French, 1714–1785)
Date: 1748–51Accession Number: 49.7.70
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In the final years of Louis XIV's reign and after his death in 1715, the aristocracy gradually abandoned the court of Versailles for the livelier environment of Paris. There, the nobles joined wealthy landowners and merchants in clamoring for the pleasures of urban life: the latest book, play, or opera-ballet, or a new house decorated with the fine modern paintings, drawings, and furnishings that were on offer in the French capital. François Boucher held a preeminent position as the favorite painter of Louis XV's mistress, Madame de Pompadour (1721–1764). Boucher's elegant, highly finished nudes and shepherdesses exemplify an important aspect of official taste, while sophisticated private collectors preferred Antoine Watteau's poignantly lyrical theatrical subjects and the idyllic fêtes champêtres of his followers Jean Baptiste Joseph Pater and Nicolas Lancret.
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