Portrait of Mrs. Bouche
ARTIST: The enigmatic artist Bouche, whose first name is still a mystery, was probably a refugee of the French Revolution. The 7 November 1795 “Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser” included an announcement that a Messr. Bouche was proposing a drawing academy with a Messr. de Valdenuit. A year later the same newspaper included a notice that Bouche, identified as a “Peintre,” had received a French letter at the post office (see also MESDA Craftsman Database, Craftsman ID 3344). The 1800 Baltimore property tax list included a gentleman named Lambert Bouchu, possibly the artist. The According to the Frick Art Reference Library only about a dozen pictures by Bouche are known; most are miniatures or graphite sketches. The artist’s surviving pictures suggest that he worked in addition to Baltimore he worked in the Maryland city of Annapolis.
DESCRIPTION: Portrait of a woman three-quarter pose, facing left; dark hair, blue empire/high waisted dress with lace around the neckline and sleeves. She is seated in a red upholstered armchair. Left elbow resting and arm of a chair and face resting on right hand. An miniature portrait rests open on her right hip. To the viewer’s left of the sitter is an urn with an inscription: “H. Bouch[e] / HEAVEN / Has in Store / What thou has / LOST.”