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Jean Honore Fragonard, The Captured Kiss

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Fragonard, Jean-Honoré 1732–1806, French painter. He studied with Chardin, Carle Van Loo, and intensively with Boucher, whose style he assimilated. He won the Prix de Rome and studied in Italy from 1756 to 1761; there he was particularly attentive to the works of Tiepolo. In 1765 he was admitted to the Académie royale for the historical Coresus and Callirrhoë (Louvre), but thereafter he devoted himself to painting polished and delicately erotic scenes of love and gallantry for the court. Characteristic examples are Love's Vow, The Swing (Wallace Coll., London), and the Music Lesson (Louvre). He married and his works became less sensual and more sentimental. Ruined by the Revolution, he retired to Grasse, where he decorated the house of a friend with the panels Roman de l'amour et de la jeunesse, earlier rejected by Mme Du Barry (Frick Coll., New York City), and several other paintings. Fragonard is esteemed for the freedom of his brush technique, the strength and vitality of his portraiture and landscapes, and for his virtuosity in depicting the character of gaiety and charm in the age of Louis XV. Well represented in the Louvre, the Wallace Collection in London, and the Frick Collection and the Metropolitan Museum in New York City, his work can also be seen in the museums of Washington, D.C., Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, and St. Louis.

Used with permission. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright © 2001 Columbia University Press