Jean Honoré Fragonard (French, Grasse 1732–1806 Paris)
Sheet: 9 1/4 in. × 12 in. (23.5 × 30.5 cm)
Plate: 5 11/16 × 8 3/8 in. (14.4 × 21.3 cm)
Image: 5 1/4 in. × 8 in. (13.3 × 20.3 cm)
The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1996
Not on view
Few painters in eighteenth-century France were formally trained in printmaking and, for the most part, they left the engraving of their work to professionals. Around 1763–64, Fragonard tried his hand at etching, ultimately producing a small oeuvre of under thirty prints, of which the four Bacchanals are among the most admired. His facility with the etching needle, which he treated as a drawing instrument, is breathtaking. Loosely inspired by antique motifs, the Bacchanals depict playful scenes of satyrs and nymphs in the form of reliefs set in shallow landscapes, framed by the fecundity of nature. In this whimsical scene, a satyr and nymph kneel facing one another, each holding a child resembling the other, perhaps a pair of fraternal twins.
Inscription: at lower left, “FRAGO”
Vendor: Paul McCarron
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," January 6, 1997–April 13, 1997.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," April 26, 2004–July 25, 2004.
G.Wildenstein,#3-6,XVIII siecle IX; Inventaire des fonds français
Georges Wildenstein Fragonard Acquafortiste. Études et documents pour servir à l'histoire de l'art français du dix-huitième siècle, Paris, 1956, 1956, nos. 3-6, state I/II, before numbers, ill.
Victor I. Carlson, John W. Ittmann, David Becker, Minneapolis Institute of Arts Regency to Empire, French Printmaking 1715-1814. Ex. cat., Baltimore Museum of Art, Nov. 10, 1984-Jan. 6, 1985; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Feb. 6-Mar. 31, 1985; the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Apr. 27-June 23, 1985. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, 1984, cat. no. 47, pp. 152-55.
Pierre Rosenberg, Katharine Baetjer Fragonard. Ex. cat.: Grand Palais, Paris, 24 Sept. 1987-4 Jan. 1988 and Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2 Feb.-8 May, 1988. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Paris and New York, 1987, pp. 154-57, nos. 67-70.