Hood Quarterly, autumn 2003
Louis-Léopold Boilly (1761–1845) first established his reputation as an accomplished portraitist and genre painter at the Paris Salon exhibitions during the French Revolution (1789–99). The painting that brought him his greatest success was the Gathering of Artists in Isabey’s Studio exhibited in the 1798 Salon (and now in the Musée du Louvre).
It was accompanied by a drawing that Boilly evidently intended as another homage to his friend Jean-Baptiste Isabey (1767–1855), a renowned master draftsman. The highly finished portrayal entitled Young Woman Reading in a Landscape has recently been acquired by the Hood Museum of Art. Curator of European Art Bart Thurber notes, “The drawing’s graceful composition, exceptional quality, and superb condition make it one of the artist’s greatest surviving graphic works.” It apparently was also the only drawing that Boilly ever exhibited at the Salon, where he continued to display his work until 1824.