Fragonard in Love – Suitor and Libertine at the Musée de Luxembourg in Paris


by Jane Rosenstein


Jean-Honoré Fragonard
Le Colin-Maillard
Toledo, Toledo Museum of Art
don Edward Drummond Libbey
copyright Toledo Art Museum

Mark Suits, our photographer and I visited the exhibition Fragonard amoreux galant et libertin ( suitor and libertine) at the Musée du Luxembourg  which is on until January 24, 2016.

Jean -Honoré Fragonard ( 1732 -1806) painted about love, seduction and intrigue.  

His work spans over 50 years. The exhibition, which is the first to present Fragonard’s works  concerns the mid 18th century a period when the age of Enlightenment was influenced by English sensualism, and it features 92 of his works of which 38 are oil paintings on canvas.. Many of the works are on loan from other museums such as The Art Institute of Chicago, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Bibliothèque National de France, Paris,  Musée du Louvre,  Insitut de France, musée Jacqyes -André and others as well as private collections Paintings from another artist  Pierre-Antoine Boudin were on display. . It was interesting to note that Nicholas de Launay made a work with the same title as that of Pierre -Antoine Boudin  Les Soins tardifs (Late treatments) both on loan from the Musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris.

The exhbition is divided into 11 categories

  1. Le berger galant ( The Shepherd Lover)
  2. Les amours des dieux (The loves of the gods)
  3. Eros rustiques et populaire (Eros rustic and popular)
  4. Fragonard illustrateur des contes libertins  (Fragonard  illustrator of libertine fables)
  5. Pierre-Antoine Baudoin, un maître en libertinage  (Pierre-Antoine Baudin, a master of licentiousness)
  6. Fragonard et l’imagerie licenseuse ( Fragonard and licentuousness imagerie)
  7. La lecture dangerous (Dangerous Reading)
  8. Le renouveau de la fête galante  ( The renewal of the gallant feast)
  9. L’armour  moralisé  (Love moralized)
  10. La passion hérotique  (Heroic passion)
  11. Les allegories amoureuses  (Romantic allegories)
Jean- Honoré Fragonard Le Verrou Photo Rmn- Grand Palais (Musée du Louvre) Photo credit Daniel Arnaudet

Some of the famous paintings include La Chemise enlevé  (the blouse taken off) about 1770 lent from musée du Louvre, Le Verrou (The Lock) about 1777-1778 from musée du Louvre, Les Baigneuses (The Bathers) 1765-17770 also from Musée du Louvre,

As Mark said about the exhibit “ It is hard core eroticism cloaked in the innocence of classicism (cherubs, babies and dogs).  I agree.


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