Fragonard’s Vibrant Drawings for Unfinished Project Explored During Lecture November 18 at the Clark

For Immediate Release

November 09, 2007

One of the artist Jean-Honoré Fragonard's many talents was as a book illustrator, and one of his great achievements was a series of drawings presumably meant for an ambitious project that never made it fully to fruition: a luxury edition of Jean de la Fontaine's Contes et Nouvelles en Vers. “Fragonard and the Fable,” by Mark Ledbury, associate director of the Clark’s Research and Academic Programs, on Sunday, November 18, at 2 pm, explores this project and Fragonard's astonishing drawings for it, and more widely Fragonard's talent as an illustrator of fables and tales.

The drawings produced by Fragonard inspired by Fontaine’s Contes et Nouvelles en Vers contain some of his most vibrant, fluid, and inventive art. There still exists uncertainty about when and why Fragonard created this bewildering variety of drawings. The most famous set is in the Petit Palais, in Paris, and this expressive series of drawings, which are inspired by the humor, eroticism, and energy of the texts, will be the focus of the talk.

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 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 is free November through May. Admission June 1 through October 31 is $12.50 for adults, free for children 18 and younger, members, and students with valid ID. For more information, call 413-458-2303 or visit


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