Fragonard: The Fantasy Figures, Exhibition Catalog

Fragonard: The Fantasy Figures, Exhibition Catalog

# 27729

NGA Produced


In Stock




Edited by Yuriko Jackall, with essays by Carole Blumenfeld, Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, Jean-Pierre Cuzin, John Delaney, Elodie Kong, Satish Padiyar, and Michael Swicklik

Accompanying the National Gallery of Art exhibition Fragonard: The Fantasy Figures, this catalog constitutes an important compendium of new information and visual material on Fragonard's much-studied series. Combining art, fashion, science, and conservation, this revelatory exhibition brings together—for the first time—14 of Fragonard's known fantasy-figure paintings.


Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806) was a French painter and printmaker whose late rococo style was distinguished by a remarkable facility, exuberance, and hedonism. The starting point for this beautifully illustrated book (and exhibition by the same name) was the discovery in 2012 of a drawing by Fragonard depicting his so-called "fantasy figures" and apparently annotated in the artist's own hand. Fragonard’s drawing presents 18 thumbnail-sized sketches, 14 of which have been correlated to known fantasy-figure paintings—rapidly executed, brightly colored portraits of lavishly costumed individuals, including Young Girl Reading (c.1769) in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington. This series includes some of Fragonard's most beloved works, depicting subjects posed at leisure or employed in various pursuits, such as acting, reading, writing, playing instruments, or singing. Wearing extravagant attire, these figures are dressed in what was known in 18th-century France as à l'espagnole (Spanish style)—plumed hats, slashed sleeves, ribbons, rosettes, ruffs, capes, and accents of red and black.


The book assembles Fragonard’s fantasy figures alongside his original sketches for the first time. It presents scientific research into the mysterious series and examines the 18th-century Parisian world of new money, unexpected social alliances, and extravagant fashions from which these unique paintings emerged.

  • Hardcover
  • 8 x 11 inches
  • 160 pages, 190 color illustrations
  • Published: 2017

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