Saturday, April 5, 2014

Happy Birthday Jean-Honoré Fragonard

The Swing (French: L'Escarpolette), also known as The Happy Accidents of the Swing (French: Les Hasards Heureux de l'Escarpolette, the original title), is an 18th-century oil painting by Jean-Honoré Fragonard in the Wallace Collection in London. It is considered as one of the masterpieces of the rococo era, and is Fragonard's best known work.

The Two Sisters. The identity of the sisters is unknown. Until recently, they have been called the artist's daughter Rosalie (born 1769) and his sister-in-law Marguérite Gérard (born 1761). This is unlikely given the known difference in age between the two.

The Stolen Kiss, 1756–61. This picture is one of the few highly finished works painted by Fragonard during his first Italian sojourn from 1756 to 1761.

The Love Letter, ca. 1770

Jean-Honoré Fragonard (French: 5 April 1732 in Grasse – 22 August 1806 in Paris) was a French painter and printmaker whose late Rococo manner was distinguished by remarkable facility, exuberance, and hedonism.

One of the most prolific artists active in the last decades of the Ancien Régime, Fragonard produced more than 550 paintings (not counting drawings and etchings), of which only five are dated. Among his most popular works are genre paintings conveying an atmosphere of intimacy and veiled eroticism. (Wikipedia).

The Legion of Honor's Salon Dore, which just reopened after years of restoration, would have been the perfect setting for his work:

Fragonard is one of the favorites of Colin Bailey, the head of the FAMSF

Unfortunately the French Revolution sent most of his clients to the guillotine and Fragonard felt it prudent to drop out of sight.

When he died in 1806, he had long ceased to be a central figure in the Parisian art world. His most characteristic work—brightly hued and fluidly painted pictures of courting aristocrats, scenes of rustic life, pleasure gardens, and erotic mythologies made in the 1760s and 1770s—seemed irrelevant after the political, social, and cultural upheavals of the French Revolution. 

Yet his obituary in the Journal de Paris lamented that, "the French school has lost a justly admired painter," whose works associated him with "the very idea of the Graces."


A Cuban In London said...

What I loved the most in these paintings was the lighting. Beuaitufl.

Greetings from London.

Namastenancy said...

No one can beat the old masters for the deft handling of paint - I love his sense of play. The 18th century elite certainly knew how to play with style and grace. I know- bought at the expense of acres of human misery. But we have miles of human misery today and the current artists - with rare exceptions - don't produce anything so joyful or delicious.