Francois Boucher (French, 1703 - 1770), The Chariot of Venus, 18th century
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.