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Opening Lecture, October 28 at the Clark, Captures the Passion and Drama in Fragonard’s Paintings

For Immediate Release

October 15, 2007

Explore the drama and passion in the work of Jean-Honoré Fragonard during “Fragonard’s Paintings of Love,” with guest curator Dr. Andrei Molotiu on Sunday, October 28, at 2 pm. This free lecture marks the opening of the exhibition Consuming Passion: Fragonard’s Allegories of Love at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.

The French artist Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806) is usually associated with the exuberance and hedonism of the Rococo style of painting. However, during the 1780s, Fragonard changed his manner to create scenes characterized by the strong play of lights and shadows and by an atmosphere of profound eroticism. In his lecture, as in his book, Fragonard's Allegories of Love, Dr. Molotiu examines some of the most striking works belonging to this late period, a series of exquisite paintings that highlight Fragonard's move away from the Rococo and toward an early version of Romanticism. Molotiu draws parallels between the paintings and the writings of Rousseau and of other early Romantic novelists and poets, and explores the possible connections between the allegories and the upheaval of the French Revolution.

Dr. Molotiu taught art history at the University of Rochester, Indiana University, and the University of Louisville. He has published articles on 18th-century French painting in the Gazette des Beaux-Arts and other art journals.

Fragonard is best known as a painter of playful genre subjects, garden landscapes, and fantasy portraits, but in his later career he turned to the subject of romantic love. Consuming Passion: Fragonard’s Allegories of Love on view October 28, 2007 through January 21, 2008 focuses on Fragonard’s work during the 1780s and 1790s when he created a series of dramatic reflections on the subject of romantic allegories. This exhibition explores these mysteries and evocative works in a variety of themes: oil painting, drawings, prints, and illustrated books. Consuming Passion has been organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum in association with the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm (daily in July and August). Admission June 1 through October 31 is $12.50 for adults, free for children 18 and younger, members, and students with valid ID. Admission is free November through May. For more information, call 413-458-2303 or visit www.clarkart.edu.

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