La Précaution La Précaution, by Louis-Léopold Boilly
Louis-Léopold Boilly (1761-1845)

La Précaution, 1789-1793

Oil on canvas, H. 0.29 m; W. 0.19 m

Label on the stretcher: Galerie Charpentier Deux siècles d’élégance, 1951.

Provenance: Collection of the printmaker Salvatore Tresca (c. 1750-1815). Sale [Faucher, former préfet] [Tresca, printmaker and others], Paris, 13 March 1815 and following days, postponed to 2-6 April 1816, n°10[c] (27.50 Frs.) (on the basis of a handwritten comment in the catalogue, acquired by Saint-Martin). Anonymous sale, Paris (Me Ader), 12-13 March 1934, n° 52 (attributed to Boilly with the title Le Rendez-Vous). Galerie Cailleux, Paris, after 1945. Galerie Bernard Rosenthal, Paris in 1951 from whom it was acquired on 11 July 1951 by M. Philippar. Private collection, Neuilly.

  • Harrisse, Louis-Léopold Boilly, peintre, dessinateur et lithographe: sa vie et son œuvre (1761-1845), Paris, 1898, p.124-125, n° 449.
  • Catalogue galerie Charpentier, 1951, not paginated.
  • John Stephen Hallam, The Genre Work of Louis Léopold Boilly, Ph.D dissertation, University of Washington, 1979, p. 18, n°199, reproduced fig. 12 – n° 85, p. 104, n° 231.

The son of a wood sculptor, Louis Léopold Boilly spent time in Douai and then in Arras at a very young age. He settled in Paris in 1785 and exhibited for the first time at the Salon of 1791, continuing to exhibit there regularly until 1824. Boilly enjoyed great success during the Revolution, the Directoire and under the Empire. This favour reflects the multiple attractions of the time, when amateurs sought simultaneously the heroism of major History paintings and the intimacy of small format works showing family scenes. Boilly devoted a significant part of his art to genre paintings and depictions of Parisian life. Often anecdotal and sometimes moralizing, these works are inspired by Dutch masters of the 17th century, which he himself collected. A prolific portraitist, Boilly is one of the first French artists to have practiced lithography.

Dated by Zuber and Bréton to the years 1789-1793, our composition will be included in the catalogue raisonné they are currently preparing.