Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Jean-Honore Fragonard

Le chat angora
oil on canvas
64.8 x 53.3 cm
location unknown

Jean-Honore Fragonard (1732 - 1806) ,French painter, was one of the most prolific artists whose scenes of frivolity and gallantry are among the most complete embodiments of the Rococo spirit. He was a pupil of Chardin for a short while and also of Boucher. He developed 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. His delicate coloring, witty characterization, and spontaneous brushwork ensured that even his most erotic subjects are never vulgar, and his finest work has an irresistible verve and joyfulness.

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 work shows many of the preoccupations of later artists with problems of style, subject-matter and conception.