The Dreamer

Jean Honoré Fragonard French

Not on view

A young woman sits on the edge of an armchair near a mirror partially covered with drapery; she appears to be dozing, an open book in hand. Another young woman stands nearby, with one finger raised to her lips to silence her companion, who turns and points to the sleeping figure. Fragonard masterfully captures the interplay of light and texture, especially in the protagonist’s sumptuous silk dress. Liberating form from a defining line, he builds volume almost entirely from a range of spontaneously applied washes. The physical presence of the luminous sleeping figure contrasts markedly with the spectral appearance of her companions, who seem to materialize her imagination in sleep.

The Dreamer, Jean Honoré Fragonard (French, Grasse 1732–1806 Paris), Pencil and sepia wash

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12 1/8 x 8 1/2 in. (30.8 x 21.6 cm)