Visiting Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion? You must join the virtual exhibition queue when you arrive. If capacity has been reached for the day, the queue will close early.

Learn more


Rosenberg, Pierre
640 pages
1 illustrations
View More Publication Info

Jean-Honoré Fragonard can be considered a true symbol of eighteenth-century France, reflecting its essence far more accurately than did Watteau, David, Chardin, or Boucher, according to Pierre Rosenberg, chief curator at the Louvre and the author of this important catalogue. Fragonard is also perhaps the least understood of the painters of his time, partly because his life is so inadequately documented and because he was such a complex artist, whose work is full of contradictions. Best known for his delightful, erotic boudoir scenes and his charming paintings of cupids and children, Fragonard was officially recognized by the French Academy as a history painter, but he also created a number of important religious works. A student of Chardin, Boucher, and Carle Vanloo, Fragonard directly inherited the traditions of eighteenth-century French painting, yet he himself left behind no artistic heirs; in fact, even during his lifetime, his work was considered old-fashioned and somewhat passé. Nevertheless, his technical genius as a painter of light and as a colorist—most obvious in his unique landscapes—has led a number of modern critics to describe him not only as the father of Impressionism, but also as the first action painter: the unwitting progenitor of modern art.

M. Rosenberg has compiled a vast amount of documentary material in order to establish a new chronology for Fragonard's life and work, thus enabling subsequent scholars to examine the artist's immensely prolific oeuvre in the context of the time in which he flourished. About one thousand comparative illustrations of related works by Fragonard and by his contemporaries support the author's discussion of more than 300 paintings, drawings, and prints by the artist, many of them newly attributed and dated. In presenting this impressive result of his intensive research, Pierre Rosenberg has provided the basis for all future study of this artist and his time.

The Stolen Kiss, Jean Honoré Fragonard  French, Oil on canvas
ca. 1760
Gardens of the Villa d'Este at Tivoli, Charles Joseph Natoire  French, Pen and brown ink, brush and brown and gray wash, watercolor, heightened with white, over black and red chalk
View of a Park, Jean Honoré Fragonard  French, Black chalk, brush and gray wash, touches of black and brown wash; framing lines in pen and black ink
ca. 1757–59
The Little Park, Jean Honoré Fragonard  French, Etching
ca. 1763
Le Petit Parc, Jean Claude Richard, Abbé de Saint-Non  French, Etching
18th century
Aegina Visited by Jupiter, Jean-Baptiste Greuze  French, Oil on canvas
ca. 1767–69
The Draftsman, Jean Honoré Fragonard  French, Black chalk
The Two Sisters, Jean Honoré Fragonard  French, Oil on canvas
ca. 1769–70
Les Jeunes Soeurs, Jean Honoré Fragonard  French, Etching, first state
The Two Sisters, Jean Claude Richard, Abbé de Saint-Non  French, Pastel on paper, laid down on canvas
The Sultan, Jean Honoré Fragonard  French, Brush and brown wash over traces of graphite
Seated Man Reading, Jean Honoré Fragonard  French, Red chalk
The Dreamer, Jean Honoré Fragonard  French, Pencil and sepia wash
late 1770s
View of a Park, Jean Honoré Fragonard  French, Black chalk with gray wash and touches of green and pink watercolor over pencil underdrawing; verso: black chalk.
late 1770s

A slider containing 5 items.
Press the down key to skip to the last item.
Fragonard: Drawing Triumphant cover
Free to download
Francois Boucher, 1703-1770
Free to download
Watteau, Music, and Theater
Free to download
Free to download

View Citations

———. 1988. Fragonard: Galeries Nationales Du Grand Palais, Paris, September 24, 1987-January 4, 1988, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York , February, 2-May 8, 1988. New York: Metropolitan museum of art.