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Details & Cataloguing

Old Master Paintings

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Jean-Honoré Fragonard
GRASSE 1732 - 1806 PARIS
YOUNG BOY HOLDING  CHERRIES
oil on canvas shaped to an oval
17 by 13 1/8  in.; 43 by 33.2 cm. 
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Provenance

Laurent François Prault, Imprimeur du Roi (1712-1780);
His estate sale, Paris, Hôtel de Bullion, 27 November 1780, lot 24, for 48 livres, 3 sols;
Jean François Leroy de Senneville (1715-1784);
His estate sale, Paris, 26 April 1784, for 59 livres 19 sols, to Jaubert;
Mme. Veuve Charras, Paris by 1889;
Eugène Glaenzer;
David David-Weill (1871-1952), Neuilly-sur-Seine;
Charles Edward Dunlap (1888-1966), New York;
By inheritence to his wife, Mrs. Charles E. Dunlap (née Phyllis High);
Her estate sale, New York, Sotheby Parke-Bernet, 3-6 December 1975, lot 356, reproduced in color;
Private collection

Exhibited

Paris, Petit Palais, L'Enfance, 1901, no. 69;
Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Exposition d'oeuvres de J.H. Fragonard, 7 June - 10 July 1921, no. 71;
New York, Wildenstein, Paintings from the David-Weill Collection, 10 November - 11 December 1937, no. 14;
Washington, D.C. Museum of Modern Art Gallery, Portraits of Children, 22 February - 20 March 1938, no. 10;
Montreal, Museum of Fine Arts, Masterpieces of Painting, 1942, no. 49;
Montreal, Museum of Fine Arts, The Eighteenth Century Art of France and England, 27 April - 31 May 1950, no. 22;
Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, and Kyoto, Municipal Museum,  Fragonard, 18 March - 29 June 1980, no. 87;
Himeji, Museum of Art; et al., Peintures françaises du Rococo à L'École de Paris, 1 June - 8 December 1985; 
Tokyo, Wildenstein, Le Bonheur de vivre:  la peinture et l'art français au XVIIIe siècle, 12 February - 11 April 1987 [unnumbered].

Literature

E. and J. de Goncourt, L'Art du dix-huitième siècle (3rd, revised edtion), vol. II, Paris, 1882, p. 375;
R. Portalis, Honoré Fragonard, sa vie et son oeuvre, Paris 1889, p. 114;
F. Naquet, Fragonard, Paris, 1890, p. 46;
R. Portalis, "L'Exposition de l'enfance," Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 3e pér., vol XXVI, July 1901, p. 10;
V. Josz, Fragonard, Paris 1901, p. 153;
A. Dayot, La Peinture française au XVIIIe siécle, Paris 1901, p. 224;
R. Nevill, "Jean-Honoré Fragonard,"The Burlington Magazine, vol. III, no. 9, December 1903, p. 290;
P. de Nolhac, J.-H. Fragonard, 1732-1806, Paris 1906, p. 115, reproduced facing p. 114;
Exposition d'oeuvres de J.H. Fragonard, exhibition catalogue, Paris 1921, p. 31, no. 71, reproduced, fig. 71;
G. Henriot, Collection David Weill:  Peintures, Paris 1926, vol. I, pp. 119-120, reproduced p. 121;
"Sale of the David-Weill Collections," Art News, vol. XXXV, no. 22, February 27, 1937, p. 12;
M. Breuning, "Art in New York," Parnassus, vol. IX, no. 6, November 1937, p. 37;
L. Guimbaud, Fragonard, Paris 1947, reproduced p. 46;
L. Brion-Guerry, Fragonard, Milan and Florence 1954, reproduced p. 61;
G Wildenstein, The Paintings of Fragonard, London 1960, no. 519, pp. 317-318, reproduced fig. 221;
D. Wildenstein and G. Mandel, L'Opera completa di Fragonard, Milan 1972, p. 110, no. 542, reproduced;
Fragonard, exhibition catalogue Tokyo and Kyoto 1980, no. 87, reproduced in color;
J.-P. Cuzin, Jean-Honoré Fragonard:  vie et oeuvre, catalogue complet des peintures, Fribourg and Paris 1987, p. 348, no. D84,  reproduced (with reservations about the attribution);
Le Bonheur de vivre:  la peinture et l'art français au XVIIIe siècle, Tokyo 1987, [unnumbered] reproduced in color;
P. Rosenberg, Tout l'oeuvre peint de Fragonard, Paris 1989, pp. 95, no. 219 and 127 and 128, reproduced p. 95, fig. 219;
J.-P. Cuzin and D. Salmon, Fragonard / regards croisés, Paris 2007, pp. 202 and 234, note 76, reproduced in color, p. 201, fig. 319.



Catalogue Note

This charming study of a young boy reflects Fragonard's affection for children and the skill with which he portrayed them.  Although sometimes referred to as a Young Boy Holding a Hat Filled with Cherries, the child seems to have gathered the fruit into an apron or length of cloth and now, as he clings to them, cannot prevent them from spilling out over the folds of the material and, presumably, onto the ground. The painting is datable to around 1770. 

The present work is painted with remarkable freedom.  Fragonard uses a brush loaded with pigment to create the overlapping folds of the drapery, while using a somewhat thinner paint for the child's wavy hair. The Young Boy Holding Cherries was one of a group of six ovals sold in five lots in the Prault auction in 1780 (see Provenance, lots 23 to 27, the last consisting of a pair of paintings).  Following lot 27, Le Brun, the expert for the sale, wrote:  "For each of the paintings by M. Fragonard that we have just described, we could have added specific praise, but we prefer to save our homage to his talents for a separate article.  In them, we recognize the new and delightful handling that characterizes his oeuvre."1  A pastel by Fragonard of the same description and roughly the same dimensions is recorded in a sale in Paris, 17-18 April 1785, lot 60.  It is unclear whether this is a variant, a preparatory work or perhaps even the same work with the medium misdescribed.2

1.  P. Rosenberg, in Fragonard, exhibition catalogue, Paris and New York 1988, p. 306.
2.  It is noted on The Getty Provenance Index Database that although the sale was not designated, many of the items belonged to the dealer Langlier.  

Old Master Paintings

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