Second Scene of Burglars: The Burglars Arrested

The black, white, and gray tones of this painting—composed in a style called grisaille—produce the illusion of an engraving. The work is one of a pair: the first scene depicts the burglary of a bourgeois home in progress, while this painting shows the second scene—the discovery of the crime. The dramatic story, told through the figures’ theatrical gestures and expressions, inspired a play based on the two compositions.


The artist (his sale, Paris, 13–14 Apr. 1829, no. 37, as one of Deux scènes de voleurs); Baron Deurbroucq (his sale, Drouot, Paris, 15 Feb. 1878, no. 3, as one of two Scènes de voleurs); Félix Gillet, Chateauroux (by 1898–d. before 1913, his sale, Drouot, Paris, 28 Feb. 1919, no. 7, as Troisième Scène de voleurs [sic], sold to Lepoutre); Lepoutre (from 1919); private collection; sale, Drouot, Paris, 28 Mar. 2007, no. 35, as ; [Étienne Bréton Fine Art, Paris, sold to the Clark, 28 Aug. 2007]; Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 2007.

Louis Léopold Boilly

French, 1761–1845

Second Scene of Burglars: The Burglars Arrested


Oil on canvas

10 7/8 x 13 7/8 in. (27.6 x 35.2 cm)

Acquired by the Clark, 2007