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    Sale 5979

    Old Master, 19th Century and British Drawings and Watercolours

    9 July 2009, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 621

    Jean-Honoré Fragonard (Grasse 1732-1806 Paris)

    The Vision of Saint Jerome, after Johann Liss

    Price Realised  


    Jean-Honoré Fragonard (Grasse 1732-1806 Paris)
    The Vision of Saint Jerome, after Johann Liss
    inscribed 'Giovanni Lys. San nicolo di Tolentino. Venise' (the inscription strengthened with ink)
    black chalk counterproof, reworked by the artist
    11½ x 7 7/8 in. (29.1 x 20 cm.)

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    In 1761, after a period spent in Rome, Fragonard returned to Paris in the company of the Abbé de Saint-Non, a connoisseur, writer and amateur printmaker. En route, Fragonard drew copies of three hundred Old Master paintings which they had seen, probably because the Abbé hoped to write a guide to the cities they had visited, which could then be illustrated with Fragonard's copies (Rosenberg, loc. cit., 1987-8). Although this ambition never came to fruition, Fragonard executed etchings after sixteen of his drawings, presumably those which he felt were most accomplished and commercial. The original of this very fine counterproof was one of the selected drawings; now lost, its appearance is recorded by this counterproof, by the etching itself and by an aquatint copy by the Abbé, all of which reverse the composition of the original drawing (Rosenberg, loc. cit.). Richly worked up by the artist, to the stage where it is as carefully finished as any original drawing, this counterproof shows Fragonard trying to capture the monumentality and the fall of light in the original Vision of St Jerome by Johann Liss. Considered to be Liss's masterpiece, this painting still hangs where Fragonard and the Abbé saw it, in S. Nicolò da Tolentino, Venice (Rosenberg, loc. cit.).

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Ian Woodner; Christie's, London, 2 July 1991, lot 162, where purchased by the present owner.


    P. Rosenberg and B. Brejon de Lavergnée, Saint-Non, Fragonard, Panopticon italiano, Rome, 1986, no. 216, ill.
    P. Rosenberg, Fragonard, exhib. cat., Paris, Grand Palais and New York, Metropolitan Museum, 1987-8, under no. 53, fig. 1.