GILLES DEMARTEAU (1722- 1776)

Finest quality 18th century French etching by the Court Engraver to King Louis XV, Gilles Demarteau. After the original painting by François Boucher.

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Product Description

SoldMaster engraver, Gilles Demarteau’s exceptional, 18th century, crayon-manner etching after François Boucher’s, Femme nue etendue sur le ventre avec un Amour. Without its giltwood frame it measures 11.25″ x 15″. This etching is featured on page 135 of David Wakefield’s book entitled, Boucher. Mr. Wakefield states that this seems to have been made after a painting that is now lost. Boucher painted versions of this subject, but there is no version known that contains the cupid.

However, Demarteau had a special relationship with Boucher and it was not uncommon for him to embellish Boucher’s drawings. Thus, we might never know if the addition of the cupid was an idea of Demarteau’s or an addition made by Boucher himself!

Mr. Wakefield identifies the model as an Irish blonde named Louise O’Murphy. She and Boucher’s wife were the painters favorite models. Louise O’Murphy was also the mistress to King Louis XV and appears more than once in Casanova’s Memoirs. In 1753 she became the first occupant of the Kings private harem, known as Le Parc aux Cerfs.

ABOUT DEMARTEAU:

GILLES DEMARTEAU was born in Liege in 1722.  After becoming a member of the Academy of Paris in 1769, he was appointed by King Louis XV to the position of Court Engraver. This prestigious position also provided him a residence at the Louvre. 

Demarteau is considered by scholars to have been one of the most important engravers of his period. His innovative techniques in engraving, using various “casters”,  allowed him to achieve a quality that is similar to that of drawing. The level of beauty and perfection that he achieved, in chalkmanner engravings, provided him with the much deserved credit he received in the development of this ‘new’ medium. (The chalkmanner engraving was first used in 1735 by Pond and Knapton in England and shortly after that the French engraver Jean-Charles Francois brought these techniques to France).

Demarteau is said to have been a close friend of François Boucher and, in fact, Boucher made drawings specifically for him to engrave. His prints are part of the permanent collections in museums worldwide (including the Louvre), and have been in the private collections of the world’s most important art collectors, such as Baron Adrien Wittert and the Rothschilds. We are thrilled to have acquired this exceptional piece, and continue to seek works of Demarteau for those clients who collect 18th c. French etchings.

 

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Andrea Fisher Design

Andrea Fisher Design