Jean-Baptiste Marie PIERRE (Paris 1714 - Paris 1789)

Naiads and Dolphins Sold

Pen and brown ink and brown wash, over an underdrawing in black chalk, heightened with touches of white, on buff paper.
Framing lines in brown ink.
Faintly and indistinctly inscribed (f. Boucher?) in red chalk at the lower right.
237 x 321 mm. (9 3/8 x 12 5/8 in.)



Sea nymphs or naiads appear in a handful of mythological pictures by Pierre, such as two versions of Venus on the Waves; one dated 1746 and on the art market in 1990, and the other, painted c.1763-1765, in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Arras, as well as a painting of The Rape of Europa of 1750, in the Dallas Museum of Art.

This drawing may be compared both stylistically and thematically with a larger and more highly finished drawing by Pierre of Cybele Prevents Turnus from Setting Fire to the Trojan Fleet by Transforming their Ships into Sea Goddesses, a subject taken from Virgin’s Aeneid, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Indeed, this may perhaps be an early idea for the sea nymphs in the larger composition in the Metropolitan Museum, with which it shares a similar treatment of the nude female figures and dolphins.

Anonymous sale, Neuilly, Hôtel des Ventes de Neuilly, 12 June 2001, lot 10
Private collection, New York.

Nicolas Lesur and Olivier Aaron, Jean-Baptiste Marie Pierre 1714-1789: Premier peintre du roi, Paris, 2009, p.446, no.D.395 (where dated c.1762-1765).

Jean-Baptiste Marie PIERRE

Naiads and Dolphins


  • Name: *
  • E-mail: *
  • Phone:
  • Comment: