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Autumn

Attributed to:
Boucher, François (b.1703, d.1770)
After:
Soldini, Luigi (b.1715, d.Post 1772)
previously attributed to François Boucher (French, b.1703, d.1770)
Date:
1750s
dated in relation to Boucher's 'Autumn' of 1745
Place of production:
Paris, France
Medium:
oil on canvas
Type of object:
overdoors
paintings
Accession number:
2864.1

Commentary

Once attributed to François Boucher, this overdoor and its pendant (acc. no. 2864.2) are now thought to be by the little known artist Luigi Dominique Soldini. It is similar to a composition by Boucher illustrating the season of Autumn. The pendant shows 'Spring' and is more original in design.

Grapes were commonly used to represent autumn which is when the grape harvest occurs. The goat was a symbol of the ancient god of wine, Bacchus, because of its associations with lust. Goats are sometimes shown pulling Bacchus's chariot; his followers, the satyrs, have goat-like features. Here the children play innocently with the animal and the ripe fruits from the vineyard.

Boucher's painting 'Autumn' was made around 1745, perhaps with studio assistance (sold Christie's, New York, 4 June 2009, lot 123). It belonged to a collector called Rémy when it was first sold in 30 June 1772. Rémy also owned a pendant painting of 'Spring'. In 'Autumn', one putto similarly rides on a goat facing the right, but his two companions are in different positions to those in the Waddesdon painting. 'Autumn' and 'Spring' were engraved in reverse by Duflos, along with two others showing 'Summer' and 'Winter'. These latter two paintings did not belong to Rémy and have disappeared. It is likely that the artist of the Waddesdon canvases saw Boucher's canvases of 'Autumn' and 'Spring' and adapted them for his own composition. He extended Boucher's tight triangle of figures to fit the more elongated shape required of an overdoor.

The two paintings are painted in grisaille, meaning shades of grey. This style of painting imitated stone.

The probable artist, Luigi Soldini, was born in Florence but was in Paris by the early 1750s. In 1753 he exhibited at the Salon and in 1754 he joined the Académie de Saint-Luc, the painter's guild academy, that rivalled the more prestigious Académie Royale de Peinture et Sculpture. Soldini painted mostly religious imagery and scenes of everyday life. He is also known to have painted mythological scenes. He used figures and compositions from Boucher's work to construct his paintings. Whilst an incredibly popular artist, Boucher's work and the rococo style began to criticised from the 1750s on for its frivolity and bad taste. Soldini's painting is evidence that less wealthy patrons continued to want to purchase similar works for their interior decoration.

Phillippa Plock, 2012

Physical description

Dimensions (mm):
724 x 1397 (sight) (irregular shape)
Signature & date:
not signed or dated

History

Provenance:
Acquired by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild (b.1839, d.1898); inherited by his sister Alice de Rothschild (b.1847, d.1922); inherited by her great-nephew James de Rothschild (b.1878, d.1957); inherited by his wife Dorothy de Rothschild (b.1895, d.1988); given to Waddesdon The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) in 1971.
Collection:
Waddesdon (National Trust)
Gift of Dorothy de Rothschild, 1971

Bibliography

Bibliography

Ellis Waterhouse, Anthony Blunt; Paintings: The James A. de Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor; Fribourg; Office du Livre, The National Trust; 1967; pp. 222-223, cat. no. 99, ill.; as 'Three naked cupids with a he-goat amid vines'

Indexed terms