A Very Fine and Large 19th Century Louis XV Style Whimsical Oval Oil on Canvas "The Triumph of Flora" attributed to Ferdinand Wagner II (German, 1847-1927), school of François Boucher (French, 1703-1770). The impressive artwork depicting a semi-nude Flora hovering through the clouds surrounded by playful cupids, cherubs, love doves and a seated maiden, within white and grey clouds, offering her Spring flower bouquets and floral wreaths, within a banded giltwood carved frame. Note: Previously used as a ceiling painting. Unsigned. Circa: 1870.
Height: 91 3/4 inches (233 cm)
Width: 59 inches (150 cm)
Depth: 2 inches (5.1 cm)
Ref.: A2517 - Lot 11339
Ferdinand Wagner II (German, 1847-1927) was the son of Passau Ferdinand Wagner Senior, a teacher at a vocational art school who began training him professionally at a young age. After traveling to Italy in 1867-1868, he continued with his art studies at The Munich Academy of Arts led by Peter Von Cornelius and Julius Schnorr Von Carolsfeld. Wagner II was influenced by the Munich school of master painters and by his art teacher, Karl von Piloty, who had been teaching at the Munich Art Academy since 1856. Piloty’s approach to historical paintings was influenced by the French art academic Paul Delaroche and by the fine artworks by Rubens and the Venetians.
After his return to Germany he was commissioned to decorate the former the Tenormayer Wine Tavern in Munich, subsequently he received numerous other commissions as a decorator. Ferdinand Wagner II wall paintings and ceiling frescos attracted the attention from the Munich City Hall and he was commissioned to decorate the cellar and at the German Theatre. He also decorated the dining room at The Drachenburg in the Königswinter on the Rhine, the Café of Roth and Luitpold in Munich and The Tivoli Restaurant in London. Between 1890 and 1891 he was comissioned numerous art works for the "Prince Bismarck" Steamboat. In Passau he created works at the town's City Hall. Between 1892 and 1916 he worked continuously decorating the Castle Ratibor by Roth where in 1894 he painted it's main artwork "The Triumph of Aphrodite". Amongst other works, in 1891 he decorated the facade at The Schwyz City Hall, in 1895 the Grand Hall ceiling fresco at the Castle Bueckeburg's, in 1897 the decoration of the large dining hall at the Famous Munich Hofbräuhaus and in 1899 he was commissioned to decorate the tower hall of the newly built Hamburg City Hall. In Passau, Ferdinand Wagner II was awarded numerous honors where, in 1887, he was named an Honorary Citizen, the Ferdinand-Wagner-Straße Street was named after him and the "Ferdinand Wagner Hall" at the Town's City Hall was named after him as well.
François Boucher (French 1703-1770) was a French painter in the Rococo style. Boucher is known for his idyllic and voluptuous paintings on classical themes, decorative allegories, and pastoral scenes. He was perhaps the most celebrated painter and decorative artist of the 18th century. He also painted several portraits of his patroness, Madame de Pompadour.
A native of Paris, Boucher was the son of a minor painter Nicolas Boucher, who gave him his first artistic training. At the age of seventeen, a painting by Boucher was admired by the painter François Lemoyne. Lemoyne later appointed Boucher as his apprentice, but after only three months, he went to work for the engraver Jean-François Cars. In 1720, he won the elite Grand Prix de Rome for painting, but did not take up the consequential opportunity to study in Italy until five years later, due to financial problems at the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture. On his return from studying in Italy he was admitted to the refounded Académie de peinture et de sculpture on 24 November 1731. His morceau du reception (reception piece) was his Rinaldo and Armida of 1734.
Boucher became a faculty member in 1734 and his career accelerated from this point as he was promoted Professor then Rector of the Academy, becoming head of the Royal Gobelins Manufactory in 1755 and finally Premier Peintre du Roi (First Painter of the King) in 1765.
Boucher died on 30 May 1770 in his native Paris. His name, along with that of his patron Madame de Pompadour, had become synonymous with the French Rococo style, leading the Goncourt brothers to write: "Boucher is one of those men who represent the taste of a century, who express, personify and embody it."
Boucher is famous for saying that nature is "trop verte et mal éclairée" (too green and badly lit). Boucher was associated with the gemstone engraver Jacques Guay, whom he taught to draw. Later Boucher made a series of drawings of works by Guay which Madame de Pompadour then engraved and distributed as a handsomely bound volume to favored courtiers. The neoclassical painter Jacques-Louis David began his painting instruction under Boucher.
Reflecting inspiration gained from such artists as Peter Paul Rubens and Antoine Watteau, Boucher's early works celebrate the idyllic and tranquil portrayal of nature and landscape with great elan. However, his art typically forgoes traditional rural innocence to portray scenes with a definitive style of eroticism as his mythological scenes are passionate and intimately amorous rather than traditionally epic. Marquise de Pompadour (mistress of King Louis XV), whose name became synonymous with Rococo art, was a great admirer of his work.
Boucher's paintings such as The Breakfast (1739), a familial scene, show how he was as a master of the genre scene, where he regularly used his own wife and children as models. These intimate family scenes are contrasting to the licentious style seen in his Odalisque portraits.
The dark-haired version of the Odalisque portraits prompted claims by the art critic Denis Diderot that Boucher was "prostituting his own wife", and the Blonde Odalisque was a portrait that illustrated the extramarital relationships of the King. Boucher gained lasting notoriety through such private commissions for wealthy collectors and, after Diderot expressed his disapproval, his reputation came under increasing critical attack during the last years of his career.