Jean-Honoré Fragonard (?)
(Grasse, 1732-1806, Paris)
Portrait of Madame Fragonard
Oil on canvas, ø 56 cm

In 1769, Fragonard married his pupil, the miniature-painter Marie-Anne Gérard (1745-1823), who also came from Grasse. She appears as the subject of various drawings done by him, and she presumably also appears on Madonna and Child pictures. The portrait of Madame Fragonard can best be related chronologically to various family scenes painted by Fragonard between 1775 and 1780, a date that would also correspond to the age of the figure represented, a woman well into her thirties. The medallion shape (tondo) of the portrait may be considered unusual; Fragonard employs it very rarely since he prefers the oval shape for portraits. There is nothing pretentious about this portrait, Fragonard presents the subject as a housewife, clad in a crimson frock held together at the throat by a white tucker. Her chestnut-brown hair, covered with a knotted, turban-like white kerchief, emerges above the right ear. The rosy flesh tints applied in bold brushstrokes match the vigorous features of the subject and the lively expression of her eyes. According to the brothers Goncourt, the portrait was in the possession of the descendants of Jean-Honoré and Marie-Anne Fragonard.