L'Armoire [The Wardrobe]
41.6 cm x 54.8 cm (16 3/8 in. x 21 9/16 in.)
(Grasse, 1732 - 1806, Paris)
Medium and Support:
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Teaching Collection of Marvin Vexler, '48, 1995
With Jean-Antoine Watteau and François Boucher, Jean-Honoré Fragonard completes the triumvirate of artists who defined the French Rococo style. As shown in The Swing, The Bolt, and The Stolen Kiss, Fragonard excelled at images of illicit love. Witty, charming, and lighthearted, the artist’s approach was comic rather than moralizing. In L’armoire a young man shamefacedly steps out from his hiding spot with his hat suggestively held in front of him as he is threatened with a stick by the irate parents of his lover. The daughter, partly in embarrassment and partly in despair, covers her face with her apron. The painting became famous and increased in popularity after Fragonard etched the image here.
The museum etching is an early impression of the second state on eighteenth-century paper that has never been washed. Other works by Fragonard in the Blanton’s collection include the even rarer impression of a portrait of his son, Fan-Fan, made in collaboration with Marguerite Gérard, as well as an important, if somewhat compromised, drawing from the Suida-Manning Collection.