Fragonard rarely approached Greuze as closely in his work as he did here. The subject is reminiscent of the crowded, moralizing family scenes by Greuze which enjoyed such a great success at the time. The scene is a pleasant rustic setting: in front of a wooden farmhouse, swathed in ivy, an old man sits in a rather large armchair as he welcomes his six grand-children, presented to him by their proud parents. A few animals - a pig, dog, cat, lamb and hen - enliven the tender scene, treated with great economy and humour.
The somewhat unusual technique of a diluted grey wash over precise outlines in pen and ink, again close to Greuze, can be observed in a few other drawings by Fragonard, for example La visite à la nourrice (Sotheby's, Paris, 19 June 2006, lot 53), which relates to a painting in the National Gallery, Washington (Cuzin, op. cit., p. 91, figs. 118-9) and Le retour (Ananoff, op. cit., no. 43). These drawings, as well as the few paintings that show a similar Greuzian influence - for example, La famille du fermier, Saint Petersburg, Hermitage (Cuzin, op. cit., no. 115) - can be dated around 1765.
We are grateful to Eunice Williams for her assistance in cataloguing this drawing.