Jean-Honoré Fragonard

  • 1732 - 1806
  • Artist
  • French

Born in the small city of Grasse, Jean-Honoré Fragonard moved to Paris with his family in 1738. While still in his teens, he apprenticed to Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin for just six months and then worked in François Boucher's studio. He won the Prix de Rome in 1752, then spent three preparatory years under Carle Vanloo before studying at the Académie de France in Rome from 1756 to 1761. Fragonard also drew landscapes with Hubert Robert and traveled to southern Italy and Venice.

Fragonard's submission to the Salon of 1765 earned him associate academy membership, yet he opted out of an official career of history painting. Preferring to make lighthearted, erotic pictures for private clients, he only exhibited at the Salon twice. Life and paint seen through his lightning brush were delicious; his cheerful canvases reinvigorated the Rococo style. He painted mythology, gallantry, landscape, and portraiture and drew voraciously in wide-ranging media, often signing his works "Frago." The French Revolution ended Fragonard's career and made him a pauper. Admiring his work, the Neoclassical painter Jacques-Louis David attempted to assist by making him curator of the future Musée du Louvre. Unable to adapt to the new style of painting, however, Fragonard died forgotten in Napoleon's France.