Return from Market

François Boucher (French, 1703–1770)


209.6 x 290.5 cm (82 1/2 x 114 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oil on canvas

On View

Ann and William Elfers Gallery (Gallery 245)





Return from Market was probably commissioned as a companion piece to Halt at the Spring [MFA Object No. 71.2]. Boucher, who objected to the natural world because it was “too green and badly lit,” created in these works a decorative fiction of billowing clouds and draperies, with abundant, rhythmically interwoven figures and animals. Dashing brushwork, delicate colors, and lighthearted sensuousness are hallmarks of Boucher’s work and embody the high style of his period.


Lower left, on stone: F. Boucher / 1767


By 1769, Pierre-Jacques-Onésyme Bergeret de Grancourt (b. 1715 - d. 1785), Paris [see note 1]; April 24, 1786, posthumous Bergeret de Grancourt sale, Hôtel de Bergeret, Paris, lot 46, not sold. December 21-22, 1846, anonymous sale, Beurdley, Paris, lot 2. 1846/1848, probably acquired in Paris by Edward Preble Deacon (b. 1813 - d. 1851) and his wife, Sarahann Parker Deacon (b. 1821 - d. 1900), Boston [see note 2]; 1861, to Mrs. Deacon's father, Peter Parker (b. 1785 - d. 1870), Boston [see note 3]; February 1-3, 1871, Deacon House sale, Leonard and Co., Boston (unnumbered catalogue), sold to Franklin for the heirs of Peter Parker; 1871, gift of the heirs of Peter Parker to the MFA. (Accession Date: March 10, 1871)

[1] This painting and its pendant (MFA no. 71.2) were exhibited at the Salon of 1769, when Bergeret de Grancourt was recorded as their owner. See Eric M. Zafran, "French Paintings in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston," vol. 1 (Boston, 1998), cat. nos. 42-43, pp. 107-112.

[2] It is possible that the Deacons purchased the two Boucher paintings at the December 21 auction in Paris. They are known to have made two trips to Paris, in 1846-47 and in 1848, to acquire furnishings for their home. See Zafran (as above, n. 1), p. 112.

[3] Mr. Deacon died in 1851 and his widow and children went abroad in 1861, at which time the ownership of their home, known as Deacon House, passed to her father. See Zafran (as above, n. 2).

Credit Line

Gift of the heirs of Peter Parker