after Jean Honoré Fragonard (French, Grasse 1732–1806 Paris)
Etching printed in brown ink, first state of two
Image: 21 5/8 × 16 1/2 in. (54.9 × 41.9 cm)
Sheet: 22 3/8 x 17 3/4 in. (56.8 x 45.1 cm)
Gift of William H. Huntington, 1883
Not on view
This is the largest print made by Gérard, Fragonard’s seventeen-year-old sister-in-law, who would go on to become a successful painter. As part of her artistic training Fragonard taught her the technique of etching. Over the course of several months in 1778, she made five prints all based on drawings by her brother-in-law, culminating in this allegorical portrait of Benjamin Franklin. Franklin, a popular figure in Paris, is shown under the protective shield of Minerva, instructing Mars to banish the enemies of America, who sits leaning against his knee.
William Henry Huntington; Donor: William Henry Huntington
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," April 14, 1997–July 20, 1997.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Fragonard: Drawing Triumphant," October 6, 2016–January 8, 2017.
B.10; Wildenstein 27
Perrin Stein Artists and Amateurs: Etching in 18th-Century France. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2013, cat. no. 18, pp. 37-39, 188, ill.
Perrin Stein, Marie-Anne Dupuy-Vachey, Eunice Williams, Kelsey Brosnan Fragonard--Drawing Triumphant. New York, 2016, fig. no. 121, 232, ill.