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FRAGONARD

Fragonard
(1732-1806)

Briefly a pupil of Chardin in 1750, Fragonard studied with Boucher until 1752, when he won the Prix de Rome. He visited Rome in 1756, where he studied the works of Venetian master Tiepolo. On his return to Paris, he made his name with a history painting in the "Grand Manner", High Priest Coroesus Sacrificing Himself to Save Callirhoe (1765). However, once accepted into the Academy, he gave up historical painting and turned to lighter Subjects, such as The Swing (c. 1766). Although such works often had erotic overtones, they managed to escape accusations of vulgarity through the artist's graceful and lighthearted handling of his subject matter. After his marriage in 1769, Fragonard also painted scenes of family groups.

He worked for the French Court of Louis XVI, particularly for his beautiful mistress Mme du Barry. After the Revolution of 1789 and the Terror that followed, Fragonard's patrons disappeared. During this period he fled to Grasse in southern France, returning to Paris in poverty. He was found a job by the Neo-Classical artist Jacques-Louis David but died in obscurity.

- From Essential History of Art

 

 




Before the Revolution, Fragonard followed Boucher. He came from the town of Grasse in southeastern France, which was and is the center of the French perfume industry. Fragonard was a rapid and spontaneous painter. He was as skilled as his teacher Boucher in sharing his pleasure in young women and their bodies, but more alert to their emotions.

Fragonard had a keen and endearing sense of human folly, especially when set in the expanses of the natural world. In his Blindman's Buff, a children's game is merrily being played by adults. Despite the light, bright and airy atmosphere there is a sense of foreboding in the painting. The gathering clouds that dominate half the canvas suggest to us, yet surely not explicitly to the painter, that the French Revolution was to come before his death. The revolution had very unfortunate consequences for Fragonard, as it ruined his patrons and deprived him of commissions. After 1793, despite previous success, he lived in obscurity for the rest of his life.

A Young Girl Reading is aglow with the softest of umbers, the rich color darkening and paling as it follows the girl's youthful contours. Her back is supported by a sort of maternal abundance of rosy pillow, but there is an almost horizontal element in the board under her arm except where her charming sleeve has overlapped its rigid outline. She is intent upon her book, as unprotected as any Boucher nymph.

The sweetness of A Young Girl Reading, its almost Renoirish charm, should not blind us to its strength and solidity. There is a geometrical framework to the softness of the adolescent reader: a strong, vertical swathe of yellow brown wall, and the gleaming horizontal bar of the armrest. It is this ability to transcend decoration that distinguishes Fragonard. Look at the girl's neck and bosom: delicious frills and ribbons, and the crinkling descent of the silks, yet there is the firm basis of a real, plump, human body. As in Blindman's Buff, the literal theme of this picture is held in an unstated context of solemnity. Like Boucher, Fragonard is more profound than he seems, and his genuine sensitivity is becoming increasingly apparent.

- From Sister Wendy Beckett, Sister Wendy's Story of Painting

 FRAGONARD_VERROU

Fragonard, Jean Honore The Bolt (Le Verrou) c. 1778 Oil on canvas 28 1/2 x 36 1/2" (73 x 93 cm) Musee du Louvre, Paris

 FRAGONARD_GIRLREAD

Fragonard, Jean Honore The Reader c. 1770-72 Oil on canvas 82 x 65 cm National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

 FRAGONARD_FANTASTIC

Fragonard, Jean Honore Fantastic Figure. Portrait of Abbe de Saint-Non Oil on canvas 31 1/2 x 25 1/2" (80 x 65 cm) Musee du Louvre, Paris

fragonard_Fontaine_d'amour

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Fontaine d'amour. c.1785. Oil on canvas, 64 x 56 cm. Wallace Collection, London, UK.

fragonard_The_Entrance_to_the_Fountain_of_Pomona,_Known_as_Fontanone,_at_the_Villa_d'Este_in_Tivoli

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Entrance to the Fountain of Pomona, Known as Fontanone, at the Villa d'Este in Tivoli. 1760. Red chalk. Musée des Beaux-Arts, Besançon, France.

fragonard_The_Grand_Cascade_at_Tivoli

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Grand Cascade at Tivoli. 1760. Oil on canvas. 72.5 x 60.5 cm. Louvre, Paris, France.

fragonard_The_Gardens_of_the_Villa_d_'Este_at_Tivoli_(

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Gardens of the Villa d 'Este at Tivoli ("The Little Park"). c. 1761-62. Oil on canvas. Wallace Collection, London, UK.

fragonard_Avenue_of_Trees

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Avenue of Trees. c.1762-63. Pen and brown ink and brown and gray wash over black chalk. 21.5 x 16.5 cm. Private collection.

fragonard_The_Watering_Place

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Watering Place. c.1762-64. Oil on canvas. 34 x 45.6 cm. Private collection.

fragonard_The_Bathers

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Bathers. c. 1762-64. Oil on canvas. 64 x 80 cm. Louvre, Paris, France.

fragonard_Venus_Refusing_Cupid_a_Kiss

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Venus Refusing Cupid a Kiss. 1760s. Oil on oval canvas. 37 x 34 cm. Private collection

fragonard_The_New_Model

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The New Model. 1760s. Oil on canvas. 34 x 65 cm. Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris, France.

fragonard_Rinaldo_in_the_Enchanted_Forest

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Rinaldo in the Enchanted Forest. 1764. Oil on canvas. 72 x 91 cm. Private collection

fragonard_Rinaldo_in_the_Gardens_of_Armida

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Rinaldo in the Gardens of Armida. 1764. Oil on canvas. 72 x 91 cm. Private collection

fragonard_La_Fete_a_Saint-Cloud

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. La Fete a Saint-Cloud. Oil on canvas. 216 x 335 cm. Banque de France, Paris, France.

fragonard_The_Useless_Resistance

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Useless Resistance. c.1764-68. Oil on canvas. 37 x 42 cm. Private collection .

fragonard_The_Swing

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Swing. 1767. Oil on canvas. 83 x 66 cm. Wallace Collection, London, UK.

fragonard_Mademoiselle_Guimard

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Mademoiselle Guimard. c. 1768. Oil on canvas. 63 x 53 cm. Bayerische Staatsgemaldesammlungen, Munich, Germany

fragonard_Portrait_de_Fantasie:_Monsieur_de_la_Breteche

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Portrait de Fantasie: Monsieur de la Breteche. 1769. Oil on canvas. 80 x 65 cm. Louvre, Paris, France.

fragonard_Girl_Making_a_Dog_Dance_on_Her_Bed

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Girl Making a Dog Dance on Her Bed. Late 1760s. Oil on canvas. 89 x 70 cm. Alte Pinakothek, Munich, Germany.

fragonard_The_Toilet_of_Venus

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Toilet of Venus. Late 1760s. Oil on canvas. 72 x 50 cm. Private collection

fragonard_The_Loves_of_the_Shepherds:_Love_Letters

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Loves of the Shepherds: Love Letters. One of the panels from The Progress of Love series. 1771-73. Oil on canvas. 318 x 215 cm. The Frick Collection, New York, USA.

fragonard_The_Good_Mother

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Good Mother. c. 1773. Oil on canvas. 48.9 x 39.2 cm Private collection.

fragonard_Man_Seated_in_an_Armchair

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Man Seated in an Armchair. 1774. Brown wash over black chalk. 36.5 x 28.3 cm. Louvre, Paris, France.

fragonard_Inspiration

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Inspiration. c.1769. Oil on canvas. 80 x 64 cm. Louvre, Paris, France.

fragonard_Italian_Park_with_Cypresses

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Italian Park with Cypresses. c. 1774. Red chalk. 27 x 32.8 cm. Private collection.

fragonard_The_Little_Swing

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Little Swing. 1770s. Oil on canvas. 52 x 71.2 cm. Private collection.

fragonard_The_Schoolmistress_(

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Schoolmistress ("Now Say Please"). 1770s. Oil on canvas. 29 x 38 cm. Wallace Collection, London, UK.

fragonard_The_Fair_at_Saint-Cloud

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Fair at Saint-Cloud. c.1775-78. Oil on canvas. 216 x 335 cm. Banque de France, Paris, France.

fragonard_The_Education_of_the_Virgin

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Education of the Virgin. Late 1770s. Oil on wood panel. 30.3 x 24.4 cm. The Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA

fragonard_The_Bolt

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Bolt. c.1776-77. Oil on canvas. 26 x 32.5 cm. Private collection

fragonard_The_Bolt

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Bolt. c.1776-78. Oil on canvas. 73 x 93 cm. Louvre, Paris, France.

fragonard_The_Isle_of_Love,_also_called_La_Fête_à_Rambouillet

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Isle of Love, also called La Fête à Rambouillet. 1770s. Oil on canvas. 71 x 90 cm. Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, Portugal.

fragonard_A_Boy_as_Pierrot

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. A Boy as Pierrot. Late 1770s-1780. Oil on canvas. 61 x 51 cm. Wallace Collection, London, UK.

fragonard_Jeroboam_Sacrificing_to_the_Idols

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Jeroboam Sacrificing to the Idols. 1752. Oil on canvas. Ecole nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France

fragonard_The_Vow_to_Love

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Vow to Love. c. 1780. Oil on canvas. 52 x 63 cm. Private collection.

fragonard_Young_Woman_Standing_(Rosalie_Fragonard)

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Young Woman Standing (Rosalie Fragonard). c.1782-84. Red chalk. 38 x 24.2 cm. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

fragonard_Forsaken,_or_Reverie

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Forsaken, or Reverie. 1790-91. Oil on canvas. 318 x 196 cm. The Frick Collection, New York, USA.

fragonard_Coresus_and_Callirhoe (First_version)

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Coresus and Callirhoe (First version). c. 1762-1765. Oil on canvas. Musee des Beaux-Arts, Angers

fragonard_The_Letter

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Letter. Oil on canvas. 38 x 30 cm. Private collection.

fragonard_The_Cradle_of_the_Happy_Family

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Cradle of the Happy Family. Oil on canvas. 69 x 87 cm. Private collection.

fragonard_Head_of_a_Young_Man

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Head of a Young Man. Oil on canvas. 47 x 38 cm. Musée des Beaux-Arts, Le Havre, France.

fragonard_Groups_of_Children_in_the_Sky_(

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Groups of Children in the Sky ("A Swarm of Cupids"). c. 1765-67. Oil on canvas. Oval 35 x 35 cm. Private collection.

fragonard_Washerwomen

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Washerwomen. Detail. 47 x 35 cm. Oil on canvas. Musée de Picardie, Amiens, France.

fragonard_Washerwomen

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Washerwomen. 47 x 35 cm. Oil on canvas. Musée de Picardie, Amiens, France.

fragonard_Washerwomen

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Washerwomen. c.1758-61. Oil on canvas. 64 x 75 cm. Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO, USA

fragonard_The_Cradle

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Cradle. Oil on canvas. 47 x 55 cm. Musée de Picardie, Amiens, France.

fragonard_Portrait_of_a_Horseman_(

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Portrait of a Horseman ("Saint-Non in Spanish Costume). c. 1769. Oil on canvas. 94 x 74 cm. Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.

fragonard_Portrait_of_Man_(

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Portrait of Man ("The Warrior"). c. 1769. Oil on canvas. 80 x 65 cm. The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute at Williamstown, MA, USA.

fragonard_Portrait_of_a_Young_Man_(

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Portrait of a Young Man ("The Actor"). c. 1769. Oil on canvas. 80 x 65 cm. Private collection.

fragonard_Rinaldo_in_Armida's_Garden (detail)

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Rinaldo in Armida's Garden (detail). 1764. Oil on canvas. 72 x 91 cm. Private collection.

fragonard_All_Ablaze

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. All Ablaze. Oil on canvas. Oval 37 x 43 cm. Louvre, Paris, France.

fragonard_Blindman's_Bluff

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Blindman's Bluff. c.1750-52. Oil on canvas. 117 x 91 cm. The Toledo Museum of Art. Toledo, OH, USA.

fragonard_Winter

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Winter. c. 1753-56. Oil on canvas. 80 x 164 cm. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

fragonard_Young_Woman_Holding_Up_Her_Child

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Young Woman Holding Up Her Child. c.1750-52. Oil on oval canvas. 47 x 32 cm. Louvre, Paris, France.

fragonard_Venus_and_Cupid (also_called Day)

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Venus and Cupid (also called Day). c. 1752-53. Oil on canvas. 114 x 133 cm. National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland

fragonard_A_Young_Girl_Reading

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. A Young Girl Reading. c. 1776. Oil on canvas. 81 x 65 cm. The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA.

fragonard_The_Love_Letter

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Love Letter. 1770s. Oil on canvas. 83.2 x 67 cm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA.

fragonard_Self-Portrait

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Self-Portrait. c.1760. Oil on canvas. Musée-Villa Fragonard, Grasse, France.

fragonard_The_Farmers'_Children

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Farmers' Children. Oil on canvas. 50 x 60.5 cm. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

fragonard_Psyche_Showing_Her_Sisters_Her_Gifts_from_Cupid

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Psyche Showing Her Sisters Her Gifts from Cupid. 1753-54. Oil on canvas. 168 x 192 cm. National Gallery, London, UK

fragonard_Fantastic_Figure

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Fantastic Figure. Portrait of the Abbe de Saint-Non. Oil on canvas. 80 x 65 cm. Louvre, Paris, France

fragonard_Portrait_of_a_Girl_(Study_or_Song)

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Portrait of a Girl (Study or Song). c. 1769. Oil on canvas. 82 x 66 cm. Louvre, Paris, France.

fragonard_The_Lost_Wager

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Lost Wager. c. 1759. Oil on canvas. 47 x 60 cm. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

fragonard_Portrait_of_Diderot

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Portrait of Diderot. Oil on canvas. 82 x 65 cm. Louvre, Paris, France

fragonard_Marie-Madeleine_Guimard,_Dancer

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Marie-Madeleine Guimard, Dancer. c. 1769. Oil on canvas. 82 x 65 cm Louvre, Paris, France.

fragonard_The_Bathers

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Bathers. ca. 1772/75. Oil on canvas. 64 x 80 cm. Louvre, Paris, France.

fragonard_The_White_Bull

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The White Bull. Oil on canvas. 73 x 91 cm. Louvre, Paris, France

fragonard_The_High_Priest_Coresus_Sacrifices_Himself_to_Save_Callirhoe

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The High Priest Coresus Sacrifices Himself to Save Callirhoe. Oil on canvas. 309 x 400 cm. Louvre, Paris, France

fragonard_The_Stolen_Kiss

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Stolen Kiss. Oil on canvas. 45 x 55 cm. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

fragonard_The_Pursuit

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Pursuit. One of the panels from The Progress of Love series. 1771-72. Oil on canvas. The Frick Collection, New York, USA

fragonard_The_Meeting

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Meeting. One of the panels from The Progress of Love series. 1771-72. Oil on canvas. The Frick Collection, New York, USA.

fragonard_Love_as_Folly

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Love as Folly. c. 1775. Oil on canvas. Oval 56 x 46.4 cm, The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA.

fragonard_Love_as_Conqueror

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Love as Conqueror. c. 1775. Oil on canvas. Oval 56 x 46.7 cm. The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA.

fragonard_The_Italian_Family

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Italian Family. c. 1759. Oil on canvas. 48.9 x 59.4 cm. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

fragonard_A_Game_of_Horse_and_Rider

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. A Game of Horse and Rider. 1767/73. Oil on canvas. 115 x 87.5 cm. The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA.

fragonard_The_Swing

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Swing. Probably 1765. Oil on canvas. 216 x 185.5 cm. The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA.

fragonard_A_Game_of_Hot_Cockes

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. A Game of Hot Cockes. 1767-73. Oil on canvas. The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA.

fragonard_The_Visit_to_the_Nursery

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Visit to the Nursery. Before 1784. Oil on canvas. 73 x 92 cm The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA.

fragonard_The_Happy_Family

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Happy Family. 1769. Oil on canvas. Oval 54 x 65 cm. The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA.

fragonard_Barrel_Organist

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Barrel Organist. 1780s. Oil on copper plate. 31 x 24 cm The Pushkin Museum of Fine Art, Moscow, Russia

fragonard_The_Storm_or_The_Cart_Stuck_in_the_Mire

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Storm or The Cart Stuck in the Mire. 1759. Oil on canvas. 73 x 97 cm. Louvre, Paris, France.