The Fountain of Love

Object Details


The Fountain of Love


Jean-Honoré Fragonard (French, 1732 - 1806)




France (Place created)


about 1785


Oil on canvas


64.1 x 52.7 cm (25 1/4 x 20 3/4 in.)

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In the midst of a verdant forest, a young man and woman eagerly rush forward, their feet just reaching the edge of a fountain's basin. Putti frolic in the fountain's waters and billowing spray, and one of them offers a cup of the magical liquid for the young lovers to drink. The story of the Garden of Love, an allegory of the nature and progress of love that has its origins in the poetry of classical antiquity and the Middle Ages, centers on this Fountain of Love. The fountain brings forth the water in which Cupid dips his arrows or from which lovers drink and fall in love. In nearly every period, artists have painted this romantic motif. During the 1700s, artists came to treat the Fountain of Love almost as a genre subject, with lovers in contemporary dress flirting in a garden around a decorative fountain. With this version, Jean-Honoré Fragonard returned the allegory to its classical origins and imbued it with the thrilling rush of those first beguiling moments of love. The quintessential Rococo artist, Fragonard responded to the Neoclassical movement in an extremely inventive manner, adding a soft, steamy atmosphere to his cameo-like figures.

- 1794

Possibly Charles-Nicolas Duclos-Dufresnoy, notaire, French, 1733 - 1794, by inheritance to his natural son Charles-Athanase Walckenaer (preempted by the State but restored to Walckenaer on July 22, 1795)


Possibly Charles-Athanase Walckenaer, French, 1771 - 1856 [sold, Paris, August 18-21, 1795, lot 28]

- 1807

Possibly Villeminot, payeur generale de la marine, French [sold, Paris, May 25, 1807, lot 21]

late 19th century

Robert Hollond, English, 1808 - 1877

and Lady Ellen Julia (Teed) Hollond, 1822 - 1884 (Stanmore Hall, Stanmore, Middlesex, England; Paris and Cannes by about 1840/60?), by inheritance to their nephew John R. Holland.

- 1913

John R. Hollond (Wonham, Bampton, Devonshire, England) [sold, Christie's, London, April 11, 1913, lot 50 (1000 guineas), to Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd.]


Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd. (London, England), sold to Henry Reinhardt & Sons, October 21, 1913 (stock no. 4202)

1913 - about 1913-15

Henry Reinhardt & Sons (New York, New York)

about 1913-15 - 1935

John North Willys, 1873 - 1935 (Toledo, Ohio), by inheritance to his daughter, Mrs. Virginia (Willys) Lucom, 1935.

1935 - 1999

Mrs. Virginia (Willys) Lucom

and Mr. Wilson "Buzz" C. Lucom, died 2006 (Palm Beach, Florida and Panama City, Panama) [sold, Lucom sale, Christie's, New York, January 29, 1999, lot 167, to Simon Dickinson, Inc.]


Simon Dickinson, Inc. (New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1999.

Fragonard Conservation Loan (May 22 to October 10, 2007)
  • The National Gallery (London), May 22 to July 1, 2007
  • Wallace Collection, (London), July 1 to October 10, 2007
Consuming Passion: Fragonard's Allegories of Love (October 28, 2007 to May 4, 2008) (Cat. 1)
  • The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, (Williamstown), October 28, 2007 to January 21, 2008
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), February 12 to May 4, 2008
Fragonard in Love (September 16, 2015 to January 24, 2016) (Cat. 1)
  • Musée du Luxembourg, (Paris), September 16, 2015 to January 24, 2016

Alex. Paillet, Paris. Catalogue des tableaux, dessins, gouaches, estampes, [...] collection de feu M. Villeminot, payeur général de la Marine. May 25, 1807 p. 11, lot 21.

Portalis, R. Honoré Fragonard, sa vie et son oeuvre (Paris: J. Rothschild, 1889) p. 277.

Dayot, Armand, and Léandre Vaillat. L'oeuvre de J.-B.-S. Chardin et de J.-H. Fragonard (Paris: Frédéric Gittler, 1908) pp. xvi-xvii, under no. 127.

The Wallace Collection Catalogue: Pictures and Drawings (London: Hertford House, 1913) pp. 76-77, under no. P394.

Christie's, London. Pictures by Old Masters: The Property of the Late John R. Hollond and Others. April 11, 1913 p. 11, lot 50.

Réau, Louis. Fragonard: Sa vie et son oeuvre (Brussels: Elsevier, 1956) p. 163.

Mandel, Gabriele. L'opera completa di Fragonard (Milan: Rizzoli, 1972) p. 109, no. 518A.

Cuzin, Jean-Pierre. Jean-Honoré Fragonard: Vie et oeuvre, catalogue complet des peintures (Paris: Editions Vilo, 1987) p. 332, under no. 373.

Ingamells, John. The Wallace Collection: Catalogue of Pictures. Vol 3, French Before 1815 (London: Trustees of the Wallace Collection, 1989) pp. 154-55, under no. P394.

Rosenberg, Pierre. Tout l'oeuvre peint de Fragonard (Paris: Flammarion, 1989) p. 118, no. 409B.

Christie's, New York. Important Old Master Paintings. January 29, 1999 pp. 214-15, lot 167, ill.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001) p. 131, ill.

Cuzin, Jean-Pierre. "Fragonard: Quelques nouveautés et quelques questions." In Mélanges en hommage à Pierre Rosenberg: Peintures et dessins en France et en Italie XVIIe-XVIIIe siècle (Paris: Réunion des musées nationaux, 2001) pp. 174-76, figs. 12-13.

Allen, Denise, et al. Masterpieces of Painting in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, with Thames & Hudson, 2003) p. 81, no. 44, ill., entry by Jon L. Seydl.

Duffy, Stephen, and Jo Hedley. The Wallace Collection's Pictures: A Complete Catalogue (London: Unicorn Press, 2004) pp. 156-57, under no. P394.

Rosenberg, Pierre. "Un nouveau Fragonard." In Fragonard: Les plaisirs d'un siècle, exh. cat. Marie-Anne Dupuy-Vachey, ed. (Paris: Musée Jacquemart-André, 2007) p. 16.

Dupuy-Vachey, Marie-Anne. Fragonard: Les plaisirs d'un siècle, exh. cat. (Paris: Musée Jacquemart-André, 2007) p. 34, note 12; pp. 50-51, under cat. no. 13, fig. 13a; p. 168, under no. 13.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007) p. 128, ill.

Molotiu, Andrei. Fragonard's Allegories of Love, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007) pp. 1-4, 13, 37-44, 67, 81-91, 98-99, 101, fig. 1 and cover ill.

Leonard, Mark, Ashok Roy, and Scott Schaefer. "Two Versions of 'The Fountain of Love' by Jean-Honoré Fragonard: A Comparative Study." National Gallery Technical Bulletin 29 (2008) pp. 31-48, pls. 1, 3-9, 11, 15-16, figs. 1-3.

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