#FixingFrago at the Wallace Collection

#FixingFrago at the Wallace Collection


Who was Fragonard?

Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1733-1806) was one of the most celebrated and prolific artists of the ancien regime. Today his art continues to enchant. His works – distinguished by their playful exuberance, their brilliant colour palette, and their bold, gestural brushwork – represent the very pinnacle of the French aesthetic movement known as the rococo.

Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732 - 1806), Le chiffre d'amour (The Souvenir), c.1775 - c.1780
Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732 - 1806), The Souvenir, c.1775 - 1780

Why do we need #FixingFrago today?

Fragonard has always been a popular artist. For instance, his painting The Souvenir is a favourite amongst the Wallace Collection’s visitors – for its intimacy, vibrant colours and emotional theme. Yet our paintings by Fragonard, including the iconic Swing, have not been researched in depth. This is a lacuna that we are trying to fill.

In recent years, we have witnessed a revival of Fragonard scholarship. The curator leading our research and conservation project has been at the core of this revival having organised a successful show on Fragonard’s so-called “fantasy figures” in the United States (2017). Fragonard is also an enduring inspiration for artists. Most recently his small oil on panel, The Souvenir, gave its name to a film by Joanna Hogg in which it plays a major role as a recurring motif that echoes and reiterates broader themes of female empowerment and the process of art making.

To build on these recent successes, we have decided to bring the multi-year research and conservation of our Fragonard paintings to the forefront of the Wallace Collection's activities. So that everyone can contribute to the research and restoration of these masterpieces we have exceptionally opened our fundraising campaign to the public and appeal to you to contribute – as much or as little as you wish – in support of Fragonard at the Wallace Collection. Your donation will ensure that our paintings remain structurally sound and visually beautiful for future generations to enjoy. To say thank you, we will send donors email updates, sometimes with exclusive behind-the-scenes photos, throughout the progress of the project.