Jean-Honore Fragonard was one of the most well-known and established French painters & printmakers of the eighteenth century. His works were set in the 'Rococo' painting style, centered on the luxurious, aristocratic life rather than self-righteous martyrs and heroes.
On April 5, 1732, Jean was born in Grasse, France, to a middle-class family of François Fragonard, a glove maker. In 1738, the Fragonard's moved to Paris with his family and studied at the École Royale des Élèves Protégés in Paris, following the initial training for a history painter. For some days, he worked and helped François in his studio till he made his way to Prix de Rome in 1752.
When eighteen, Jean's aptitude for arts prompted his father to enroll under François Boucher, the then Royal Painter. Boucher recognized Jean's talent, but due to his inexperience, he sent him to the distinguished painter, Jean-Baptiste SiméonChardin, in 1750, for laying a strong foundation in painting.
Trained Jean-Honore Fragonard returned to Boucher after six months for further profound grooming. In 1752, the polished painter won the prestigious Prix de Rome scholarship for "Jeroboam Sacrificing to the Golden Calf (1752). Pursuing this, Jean-Honore Fragonard opted for three years of training in many historical paintings.
Jean-Honore Fragonard then ventured out to explore Italy and joined the French Academy in Rome on September 17, 1756. Here, he befriended his fellow artist Hubert Robert. Ultimately, the duo traveled throughout Italy together by capturing the exotic sceneries on their canvas.
Like "Saint Celestine V Renouncing the Papacy" (1761), Fragonard's paintings were archetypical of the Flemish and Dutch styles, with less yet powerful brush strokes. After five in 1761 years, Jean returned to Paris.
Artworks of Jean-Honore Fragonard:
In 1765, his painting "Croesus et Callirhoe (1765)" received huge critical acclaim and appreciation. Marveled by this work, King Louis XV bought and treasured it. This patronage of the King earned him more assignments, like the series of Madame du Barry, the official mistress of Louis XV, as paintings commissioned.
With time, Jean's works attained maturity, with romance and subtle eroticism finding a prominent place in the art world; "La Culbute (The Tumble) (1766)", "Serment d'amour (Love Vow) (the 1760s), "Le Verrou (The Bolt) (1777-78)", "La Chemise enlevée (The Shirt Removed) (1770)," and "The Stolen Kiss (1788)." These bold paintings portrayed the subjects in various amorous positions adorned with mythological statues and attractive flowers and against a backdrop of lush green landscapes.
The tepid public response to these bold paintings made him experiment with 'Neoclassicism,' giving up 'Rococo.' completely. Meanwhile, Jean-Honore Fragonard married in 1769 and had a daughter, who later became his favorite subject in his paintings.
In October 1773, he explored Italy with his friend, Pierre-Jacques –Onésyme Bergeret de Grancourt; "Seated Man Reading" was created.
"A Fisherman Pulling a Net and A Fisherman Leaning on an Oar" (1774) must have been made during the time spent in Naples in 1774. He also adopted the the technique of brush and brown wash at this time, which he applied with a freedom paralleling his oil paintings of the 1760s.
He fell in love with his wife's sister, with whom he had a son, Alexandre-Évariste Fragonard, in 1778, on his return to Paris. Alexandre was also a brilliant painter and sculptor, and with the outbreak of the French Revolution, he took refuge at his friend's place in Maubert, Grasse, in 1793. He also has fellow artists and benefactors who were forced to leave France. He painted huge panels in this house and named the series with different names.
After his return to Paris in the early nineteenth century, he died on August 22, 1806, in anonymity. The French Revolution seized away from the sheen from his glorious career, and his identity as one of the greatest French artists was lost. Later researches, however, rediscovered the artist, bringing into light his brilliant 'Rococo.' style and courageous outlook towards painting.
Jean was a prolific artist who created at least 550 paintings. His paintings are preferred and exhibited in many artwork galleries, including Louvre, Paris, Wallace Collection, London, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.