Sunday, December 25, 2011

Fragonard, Jean-Honoré

The Happy Accidents of the Swing
oil on canvas
81 × 64 cm
Wallace Collection, London

Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732 – 1806) ,French painter, was one of the most prolific artists active in the last decades of the Ancien Régime.
He developed, from his beginnings as a pupil and follower of François Boucher, into the most brilliant and versatile artist in 18th-century France. He wielded brush, chalk and etcher's needle with extraordinary virtuosity, effortlessly varying his touch as he produced a succession of consummate masterpieces on themes from religion, mythology, genre and landscape. Among his most popular works are genre paintings conveying an atmosphere of intimacy and veiled eroticism.
By 1780 Fragonard’s career had passed its peak. Erotic paintings and the exuberant decorative style he was known for had gradually begun to go out of fashion, replaced by Neo-Classicism, which would gain more popularity in the years leading up to the French Revolution. Fragonard died in 1806, almost completely ignored and forgotten. He had little direct influence on French painting, but his oeuvre shows many of the preoccupations of later artists with problems of style, subject-matter and conception.