(La Bassée 1761 – 1845 Paris)
La Tendresse Conjugale)
Oil on panel
52.5 x 43.5 cm
Signed lower left: L. Boilly
Circa 1807-1810 ?
- Sale of [Jean-François] Pillot, former stockbroker, Paris (Tridon), 10-12 February 1818, no. 4 (190 francs) (according to a manuscript indication in the catalogue, bought by Laneuville).
- Possibly the Boilly collection, mentioned on 11 February 1819 in the inventory after the death of his second wife, Adélaïde-Françoise-Julie Leduc (Paris, Archives Nationales, MC/ET/XLIII/701).
- Possibly Boilly sale, Paris (Bonnefons de Lavialle), 13-14 April 1829, no. 27.
- Collection of Paul Barroilhet (1810-1871), 1852.
- Collection of Charvet, 1898 (Harrisse, who saw the painting, pointed out: “seems to come from one of the collections of King Louis-Philippe, for the wooden frame bears the initials L. P. in relief” (we were unable to verify this information)).
- Anonymous sale, Paris (Albinet), 31 May 1929, no. 2
- Collection of Givaudan, 1930; Xavier Givaudan (his brother), 1954.
- By inheritance.
- Paris, Galeries Bonne-Nouvelle, 1852: “Association des artistes. Explication des ouvrages de peinture, de la collection P. Barroilhet, exposés aux Galeries Bonne-Nouvelle au profit de la Caisse de secours et pensions de l’association”, Fifth annual exhibition, no. 189.
- Paris, former Hôtel de Sagan, 31 May – 22 June 1930 : “Louis-Léopold Boilly”, no. 30.
- Geneva, Musée Rath, 1954: “Trésors des collections romandes (Ecoles étrangères)”, no. 32.
Related work :
Lithography, image in reverse, in 1826 with the title Les Époux heureux (The Happy Spouses).
The subject addressed here in this work by Boilly shows a theme rarely treated in French 18th and 19th century painting (constituting perhaps even the unique case in the history of painting): a depiction of great tenderness shown by a couple expecting a “happy event”. The pose of the future mother and the bulge revealed by her dress leaves no doubt whatsoever that she is pregnant, and suggest that delivery is near. The panel appears for a first time in the Pillot sale in 1818, with the following description: “Interior of an apartment. Here, a pregnant woman can be seen, seated close to her husband, who has an arm around her shoulders; they seem both to be delighting in the early signs of life of their child. A dog, a table covered with various accessories, add to the interest of the composition, which is from the master’s best period.” Later, in 1819, it is surprising to see that a painting apparently corresponding to the this description was again in Boilly’s possession. Indeed, in the inventory after the death of his second wife in 1819, there is a painting described as follows: “A young woman, seated next to her husband, guides [his hand] to feel [the movement of] the child she is carrying, painting on wood.” Might Boilly have bought it back, using Laneuville as an intermediary, and if this was the case, for what reason? Could it have been to help him do the lithograph which was published by Villain in 1826 ?
Be that as it may, in the Boilly sale from 1829, no. 27, seems once again to be the same painting, but described in different terms: “Marital Affection. A young pregnant woman presses the hand of her husband,” but without any indication of its dimensions or support. In the same sale, no. 7 is described as a pair of paintings, with one of them having the same subject as our composition. This time, it is an oil on canvas, painted later than ours and sold with its pendant, the two entitled respectively Le Second mois et Le Neuvième mois (The Second Month and The Ninth Month). Moreover, a similar painting on canvas appeared in the Basset sale in 1824. The description given allows us to suppose that Boilly did two versions of the same subject.
Later, the work bearing this title in the catalogue of the exhibition of Paul Barroilhet’s collection in 1852 is described as follows: “The ninth month, w.[ood], (signed: L. Boilly) was lithographed”. This last information refers to the lithograph done by Villain with the title: Les Époux heureux (The Happy Spouses), a confirmation that this is indeed our painting.