Fragonard: The Fantasy Figures

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In early September, we published Fragonard: The Fantasy Figures, the first book to assemble Fragonard's 'fantasy figures' alongside his original sketches. It is a unique project which uses the multiple perspectives of social history, fashion history and new scientific technology to shed light on Fragonard's approach to this series as a whole. 




Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806) was a French painter and printmaker whose late Rococo style was distinguished by a remarkable facility, exuberance and hedonism. The starting-point for this beautifully illustrated book was the discovery in 2012 of a drawing by Fragonard depicting his so-called 'fantasy figures'. Fragonard’s drawing presents thumbnail-sized sketches relating to 14 of his known 'fantasy-figure' paintings – rapidly executed, brightly coloured portraits of lavishly-costumed individuals, including Young Girl Reading (c.1770). These are now in the collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC and can be view in their current exhibition which accompanies this book. The exhibition is on until 3 December 2017. 


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