Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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The Husband-Confessor

Artist:
Jean Honoré Fragonard (French, Grasse 1732–1806 Paris)
Date:
ca. 1770
Medium:
Brown wash over light black chalk underdrawing
Dimensions:
8 1/8 x 5 9/16 in. (20.6 x 14.1 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
The Lesley and Emma Sheafer Collection, Bequest of Emma A. Sheafer, 1973
Accession Number:
1974.356.44
Not on view
The salacious Tales of Jean de La Fontaine enjoyed great popularity in eighteenth-century France. Fragonard illustrated them in various series and versions over many years. While a few were eventually engraved, his drawings, which perfectly capture the gallantry and humor of the well-known stories, also appealed to collectors.

This delicate drawing illustrates one of the famous Tales of Jean de La Fontaine. In a careful technique, emphasizing legibility over spontaneity, Fragonard describes an elegant salon. The knight Artus returns from war to find his wife surrounded by admirers, his expression far from pleased.
Jacques Doucet (French, Paris 1853–1929 Paris), his sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, May 16-17, 1906 ((lot 25, “Le mari confesseur. Composition à plusieurs personnages dans un intérieur, pour illustrer un conte de La Fontaine [édition Didot]. Dessin à la sépia. A été gravé par Tilliard [20.5 × 14 cm]”), sold for 2,700 francs; Marius Paulme; Henri Lehmann ; Lehmann sale, Paris, Galeries Georges Petit, June 8, 1925,(lot 154, “Le Mari confesseur. Illustration d’un conte de La Fontaine, pour l’édition Didot, in-4°, 1795. Dessin au lavis de sepia [20.5 × 14.5 cm]”);; Marcel Razsovich , St. Germain-en-Laye (1931;; A. & R. Ball; Lesley and Emma Sheafer in 1948
Jacques Seligmann et Fils. "Exposition de dessins de Fragonard, Paris, Jacques Seligmann et Fils," 1931.

National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "Drawings by Fragonard in North American Collections, Washington, Cambridge and New York, 1979," November 19, 1978–January 21, 1979.

Fogg Museum, Harvard Art Museums. "Drawings by Fragonard in North American Collections, Washington, Cambridge and New York, 1979," February 16, 1979–April 1, 1979.

The Frick Collection. "Drawings by Fragonard in North American Collections, Washington, Cambridge and New York, 1979," April 20, 1979–June 3, 1979.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Fragonard: Drawing Triumphant," October 6, 2016–January 8, 2017.

Ananoff 1961.2717
Louis Réau Exposition de dessins de Fragonard. Jacques Seligmann et Fils, Paris, 1931, cat. no. 113, p. 54.

Louis Réau Fragonard, sa vie et son oeuvre. Paris, 1956, p. 226.

Alexandre Ananoff L'oeuvre dessiné de Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806) Catalogue raisonné. Paris, 1961-1970, cat. no. 2717, p. 240, vol. 4.

Marianne Roland Michel "Fragonard - Illustrator of the 'Contes' of La Fontaine." in Burlington Magazine. vol. 112, no. 811, London, October 1970, p. vi.

Eunice Williams Drawings by Fragonard in North American Collections. Washington and Cambridge, MA, 1979, cat. no. 53, pp. 134-135, ill.

Jacob Bean, Lawrence Turčić 15th-18th Century French Drawings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1986, cat. no. 113, ill.

Anne L. Schroder "Fragonard et le dessin français au XVIIIe siècle dans les collections du Petit Palais." Master Drawings. vol. 34, no. 4, Winter 1996, p. 435.

Anne L. Schroder "Fragonard's Later Career: The Contes et Nouvelles and the Progress of Love Revisited" The Art Bulletin. 93, no. 2, 2011, p. 157.

Perrin Stein, Marie-Anne Dupuy-Vachey, Eunice Williams, Kelsey Brosnan Fragonard--Drawing Triumphant. New York, 2016, cat. no. 86, 243-47, ill.

Louis-Antoine Prat Le Dessin Français au XVIIIe siècle. Paris, 2017, fig. no. 1440, 677, ill.



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