New York City, NY
Jean Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806)—one of the most forward-looking and inventive artists of the 18th century—was equally skilled in painting, drawing, and etching. Unlike many old masters for whom drawing was a preparatory tool, Fragonard explored the potential of chalk, ink, and wash to create sheets that were works of art in their own right. As displays of virtuosity and an imaginative spirit, his drawings have been prized highly from his own day to the present, and New York has long been a center for collecting these works.
This exhibition will celebrate the artist's achievements as a master draftsman. Among the 100 works on paper on view, nearly half are from private collections, some of which will be shown publicly for the first time. A similar brio and inventiveness mark the artist's etchings, and examples of these will also be featured in the selection. The exhibition will provide a rare opportunity to see well-loved masterpieces alongside new discoveries and works that have long been out of the public eye.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.
Whether you go or not, the exhibition catalog, Fragonard: Drawing Triumphant, is an exquisitely illustrated volume that emphasizes the importance of drawing in Fragonard's creative process.
Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806) is considered the preeminent draftsman of his time. This fresh assessment of the artist focuses on the role of drawing in his creative process and showcases Fragonard’s mastery and experimentation with drawing in a range of media, from vivid red chalk to luminous brown wash, as well as etching, watercolor, and gouache. Unlike many old master painters, Fragonard explored the potential of drawings as works of art in their own right, ones that permitted him to work with great freedom and allowed his genius to shine. The drawings featured here come from public and private collections in New York, balancing a mix of well-loved masterpieces and new discoveries.