François Boucher - The Chariot of Venus, 18th century

François Boucher (Paris, 1703 - 1770, Paris)

The Chariot of Venus, 18th century

Oil on canvas, 88 x 70 cm (34 5/8 x 27 9/16 in.)


Object details

Accession number



Purchased by Isabella Stewart Gardner from the art dealers Wildenstein & Co., Paris for 17,569 francs on 30 July 1902, through the American painter and collector Ralph W. Curtis (1854-1922) and Fernand Robert, her regular agent in Paris.

Dimension Notes

Frame: 120.1 x 106.5 cm (47 5/16 x 41 15/16 in.)


Philip Hendy. Catalogue of Exhibited Paintings and Drawings (Boston, 1931), pp. 75-76, ill.
Gilbert Wendel Longstreet and Morris Carter. General Catalogue (Boston, 1935), p. 138.
Stuart Preston. "The Car of Venus" in Alfred M. Frankfurter (ed.). The Gardner Collection (New York, 1946), p. 49, ill.
George L. Stout. Treasures from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1969), pp. 138-39, ill.
Philip Hendy. European and American Paintings in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1974), pp. 45-47, ill.
Alexandre Ananoff et al. François Boucher: Tableau chronologique et catalogue des peintures, vol. 2 (Paris, 1976), no. 356, fig. 1051.
Pierrette Jean-Richard. L'Oeuvre gravé de Francois Boucher dans la Collection Edmond de Rothschild I (Paris, 1978), p. 287
Deborah Gribbon. "Report of the Curator." Fenway Court (1979), p. 65.

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Painter to King Louis XV, François Boucher defined artistic tastes at the French court. He is best known for mythological paintings like this one, the compositions of which reached audiences far and wide through tapestry, porcelain, and print.

Gardner purchased this painting from Wildenstein and Co., venerable dealers of French art. She paid a fraction of the price of her most expensive Italian paintings. Gardner collected few Rococo works; perhaps she sought to fill the void in her collection with this one. It was installed in the Little Salon by 1912, along with a second painting of similar style and an embroidery made from Boucher’s designs, an apparent homage to the French master.