Jean Honoré Fragonard

Fragonard, La Famille du Satyre, etching

La Famille du Satyre

Wildenstein IV, Portalis 118

etching, 1763, a fine impression of the rare 1st state (of 2, before the numbering)*, with small margins, unobtrusive soiling, light foxing (mostly in the margins), two short tears in the margins (middle right, and along an old mount, top left), a minuscule paper loss (along the right margin), some thinning along the platemark (right and below), two small pinholes (in the subject, to the right), traces of old mounting tape on the reverse, otherwise in very good condition

P. 145x213mm; S. 158x224 mm

This Fragonard etching is one of the most delightful* prints of the 18th century.  Although Wildenstein (1956) states that:

"Fragonard executed the drawings of these prints in Italy from the bas-reliefs of ancient Herculaneum."**

there are no drawings that can be unequivocally attributed to them (see the discussion on page 155 in Pierre Rosenberg's catalogue for the exhibition, Fragonard, 1988).  There is furthermore little reason to consider that they are faithfully antiquarian; Cornelius Vermeule (in European Art and the Classical Past, 1964) attempted to identify some of them, but it is clear that Fragonard's unbridled fancy played a major part in their conception.

* Pierre Rosenberg's term is "délicieuse."

** "Fragonard a exécuté les dessins de ces gravures en Italie d'après les bas-reliefs antiques de Herculanum."