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Jean-Honoré Fragonard (Grasse 1732-1806 Paris)
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Jean-Honoré Fragonard (Grasse 1732-1806 Paris)

A study of trees at the edge of wood, with figures resting in the shade

Details
Jean-Honoré Fragonard (Grasse 1732-1806 Paris)
A study of trees at the edge of wood, with figures resting in the shade
numbered 'No. 131' on the mount
red chalk
12 1/8 x 18 in. (309 x 457 mm.)
Provenance
Anon. sale; Sotheby's, London, 27 April 1977, lot 17.
With Galerie Cailleux, Paris, Sanguines, 1978, no. 12.
Literature
J. Massengale, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, New York, 1993, p. 31.
P. Stein, Eighteenth-Century French Drawings in New York Collections, exhib. cat., New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1999, pp. 164-6, fig. 70.1.
Exhibited
Paris, Galerie Cailleux, Aspects de Fragonard, 1987, no. 48.
Special Notice

VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price plus buyer's premium.

Lot Essay

This study, drawn en plein-air, dates from Fragonard's second trip to Italy in 1773-4, on which he acompanied the financier Bergeret. The drawing was re-used by Fragonard in a more finished red chalk landscape recently acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, exhibited in New York in 1999, no. 70. The New York drawing was dated by Eunice Williams to after 1773, E. Williams, Drawings by Fragonard in North American Collections, exhib. cat., Washington, National Gallery of Art and elsewhere, 1978, p. 126. The arrangement of the trees and their foliage is very nearly the same in both compositions, although the group of figures drawn in reserve on the left of the present drawing has been moved between the two groups of trees in the New York sheet. Furthermore, additional foliage had been added to the lower left corner of the New York drawing to 'improve' the natural regression of the composition towards the upper right margin, an impression aided by the more heavily worked sky.
Another plein-air red chalk drawing, executed by Fragonard during the same trip in Italy, is in the Boymans-van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam, P. Rosenberg, Fragonard, exhib. cat., Paris, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, 1987, no. 201.
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