Jean-Honore 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 the exhibition which it accompanies) was the discovery in 2012 of a drawing by Fragonard depicting his so-called 'fantasy figures'. Fragonard's drawing presents thumbnail-sized sketches relating to 14 of his known 'fantasy-figure' paintings - rapidly executed, brightly coloured portraits of lavishly costumed individuals, including Young Girl Reading (c.1770) in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington. The book assembles Fragonard's fantasy figures alongside his original sketch 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.
Yuriko Jackall is Assistant Curator of French Paintings at the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Carole Blumenfeld is Research Associate at the Musee Fesch, Corsica. Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell is an art historian specialising in fashion and textiles. Jean-Pierre Cuzin is former Director of the Department of Paintings at the Musee du Louvre, Paris. John Delaney is Senior Imaging Scientist at the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Elodie Kong is an art historian specialising in the collecting habits of financiers in 18th-century Paris. Satish Padiyar is a Senior Lecturer in 19th-century European art at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London. Michael Swicklik is Senior Paintings Conservator at the National Gallery of Art, Washington.
Director's Foreword; Acknowledgements; Fragonard's Fantasy Figures in 18th-Century French Painting; Fragonard's Fantasy Figures: New Technical Discoveries; Fashion in the Fantasy Figures; Fragonard's World; Collectors of the Fantasy Figures: An Affair of Taste and Money; Fragonard's Fantasy Figures: The Four Missing Paintings; Object Entries; Bibliography; Index