Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Louis-Léopold Boilly: French Painter of Teen [Lipstick] Lesbians & Foot Fetish Nymphets

Louis-Léopold Boilly, Self-Portrait

Per National Gallery of Art, by 1779, Louis-Léopold Boilly (French: 5 July 1761 – 4 January 1845) was painting portraits in Arras, but he moved to Paris in 1785 where his family portraits attracted attention and commissions. Beginning in 1791, Boilly "[...] regularly exhibited portraits and genre scenes at the Paris Salons. [But] [w]hen private patronage dwindled after the outbreak of the Revolution, he sought to reach a wider popular audience by painting boudoir scenes, of mildly licentious character [...]"

Two Young Women Kissing (Deux jeunes femmes s'embrassant), about 1790

Two Young Women Kissing (Deux jeunes femmes s'embrassant), about 1790 and Comparing Little Feet (La comparaison des petits pieds), 1891 are two examples of the French painter's erotic pieces that profiles nymphets. 

Per Alain.R.Truong: "'Comparing Little Feet' (1891, The Ramsbury Manor Foundation) uses a seemingly innocent competition between two young women as a means of exposing their legs and décolletages, whereas works such as 'Two Young Women Kissing' (about 1790–4, The Ramsbury Manor Foundation) are more explicitly erotic."

Comparing Little Feet (La comparaison des petits pieds), 1891

Here's an excerpt from Sotheby's catalogue notes for 
Comparing Little Feet:

This unique erotic composition reveals an interior in which a woman, seated at left, crosses her right leg over her left knee in order to remove her shoe and compare her foot with that of her friend. Both have one red shoe and one blue shoe each; they have obviously exchanged them. The woman on the right, standing with her breasts casually uncovered, lifts her skirt. In the doorway a voyeur observes the scene with an interested, if not salacious air. Such licentious genre scenes caused their creator, Louis-Léopold Boilly, no little trouble during the so-called Reign of Terror (1793-94) for the loose morals they portrayed. With a polished technique, the artist here reveals how capable he is of rendering the intimacy of the scene through the magnificent play of fabrics and subtle lighting. 

Alexandre Chaponnier (d’après Louis-Léopold Boilly) La comparaison des petits pieds (fig. 1)

At least three versions of this composition, entitled Comparing Little Feet, were made, including one now lost and only known through an engraving by Alexandre Chaponnier (fig. 1. The principal group of the scene is identical but the third figure is now on the floor, in a grotesque pose, trying to see even more. 

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