- Jean-Honoré Fragonard
- A Young girl sleeping
- oil on canavs
- 19 1/4 by 24 5/8 in.; 49 by 62.5 cm.
Sale du Cabinet de M. B. *** (Masso and Benoît), Paris, 10 April 1786, lot 43, to Chariot, for 423 livres.
P. de Nolhac, J.-H. Fragonard 1732-1806, Paris 1906, p. 120;
G. Wildenstein, The Paintings of Fragonard, London 1960, p. 261, no. 274 (as lost);
G. Mandel, L'opera completa di Fragonard, Milan 1972, p. 98, no. 292;
P. Rosenberg, Fragonard, exhibition catalogue Paris and New York, English edition, 1988, p. 77;
J.-P. Cuzin, Jean-Honoré Fragonard: Vie et oeuvre. Catalogue complet des peintures, Fribourg 1989, p. 346, D54 (as disparu [known only from the sketch by St. Aubin]);
P. Rosenberg, Tout l'oeuvre peint de Fragonard, Paris 1989, pp. 76-77, no. 55 (as disparu).
Now with the picture before us, it is clear that Rosenberg's assessment was correct. During this point in his career, Fragonard was very much under the influence of Boucher, and the round forms and opulent flesh are clearly drawn on the works of the older master. The handling of the paint itself recalls other early works by Fragonard, such as The Stolen Kiss, in the Metropolitan Museum, New York. In both, Fragonard renders the flesh quite smoothly while he builds the drapery up with strong, heavy strokes. Here, particularly, the colors are warm and in a narrow range of yellows and reds, lending the entire composition a feeling of creamy richness and light. It is the only example of a nude painted during his early Italian trip and is a forerunner of the remarkable erotic paintings of his maturity.