Oh! If Only He Were as Faithful to Me

Object Details

Title:

Oh! If Only He Were as Faithful to Me

Artist/Maker(s):

Jean-Honoré Fragonard (French, 1732 - 1806)

Culture:

French

Place(s):

France (Place created)

Date:

about 1770 - 1775

Medium:

Black chalk and brush with brown wash over black chalk

Dimensions:

24.8 x 38.4 cm (9 3/4 x 15 1/8 in.)

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A young woman clad only in a negligee kneels on her unmade bed, hands clasped in despair. As the drawing's title makes clear, she bemoans her lover's infidelity. With tongue-in-cheek humor, Jean-Honoré Fragonard juxtaposed the woman's exaggerated distress with her dog's unwavering loyalty. The woman's pose, taken from representations of the penitent saint Mary Magdalene, the reformed New Testament courtesan traditionally depicted with long, flowing hair, further emphasizes the drawing's light, satirical tone.

Fragonard's light, fluent washes also work to convey a sense of abandonment, evident especially in the wildly tossed-about bedclothes. These fluid passages contrast with the arresting precision of the woman's eye, nostril, and mouth, captured in small marks made with the point of the brush.

In the later 1760s, Fragonard created a number of drawings devoted to erotic themes. He made this one as a study for an engraving.

Provenance

Comte Jacques de Bryas (Paris)

Galerie Georges Petit (Paris) [Paris, April 4-6, 1898, lot 58]

Pierre Decourcelle, French, 1856 - 1926

Galerie Georges Petit (Paris) [Paris, May 29-30, 1911, lot 87]

Baron Edmond James de Rothschild, Austrian, 1845 - 1934

Baroness Alexis de Goldschmidt Rothschild, by descent

Kunsthalle Basel [January 24, 1970, lot 28.]

Private Collection (France)

Wildenstein & Company

Exhibitions
Exposition Chardin et Fragonard (1907) (169)
  • Galerie Georges Petit, (Paris), June to July, 1907
Drawings by Fragonard in North American Collections (November 19, 1978 to June 3, 1979) (27; catalogue by E. Williams)
  • National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), November 19, 1978 to January 21, 1979
  • Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, (Cambridge), February 16 to April 1, 1979
  • The Frick Collection, (New York), April 20 to June 3, 1979
Fragonard [1980] (March to June 1980) (122; catalogue by D. Sutton)
  • National Museum of Western Art (Tokyo), March to May, 1980
  • Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, (Kyoto), May to June, 1980
Fragonard [1987 - 1988] (September 24, 1987 to May 8, 1988) (119; catalogue by P. Rosenberg)
  • Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, (Paris), September 24, 1987 to January 4, 1988
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), February 2 to May 8, 1988
French Master Drawings (December 3, 1991 to February 16, 1992) (119; catalogue by P. Rosenberg)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), December 3, 1991 to February 16, 1992
Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (May 24 to August 8, 1993) (44)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), May 24 to August 8, 1993
Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (October 29, 1993 to January 23, 1994) (105)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), October 29, 1993 to January 23, 1994
Carmontelle's Transparency: An 18th Century Motion Picture (2000) (March 14 to May 28, 2000) (105)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 14 to May 28, 2000
French Drawings from the Age of Greuze (September 10 to December 1, 2002) (105)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), September 10 to December 1, 2002
Carmontelle's Transparency: An 18th Century Motion Picture (March 14 to June 18, 2006) (105)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 14 to June 18, 2006
Consuming Passion: Fragonard's Allegories of Love (October 28, 2007 to May 4, 2008) (105)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), February 12 to May 4, 2008