The Joys of Motherhood
The Joys of Motherhood
The Joys of Motherhood
The Joys of Motherhood
The Joys of Motherhood
The Joys of Motherhood

The Joys of Motherhood

Jean-Honoré Fragonard (French, 1732-1806)

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Idealized visions of the pleasures of local country life were popularized in the 1740s by Charles-Simon Favart at the Comic Opera in Paris and in paintings and stage sets by François Boucher, with whom Fragonard apprenticed prior to his 1752 Rome Prize win. Here, the young mother, with her pretty dress and powdered hair, owes more to staged pastorals than reality. Paintings this size functioned as interior decorations for wealthy patrons. Pretty country scenes were especially popular since rural subjects suited country châteaux equally as well as city dwellings, where they might recall fashionable pastimes, like the theater. Fragonard painted unusually dynamic decorative works and here vitality exudes from the abundant flora, rosy infant, and robust, pushy toddler.

Comte de Malleray, Versailles;{1}
Jules S. Bache (1861-1944), New York;{2}
Baron de Rothschild, Paris;
(Wildenstein & Co., New York);{3}
Josiah K. Lilly Jr.[(1893-1966], Indianapolis;
Purchased by Herman C. Krannert [1887-1972], in 1970;{4}
By inheritance to his wife, Ellnora Decker Krannert [1890-1974], in 1972;
Given to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, now the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, in 1973 (73.103.2).
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{1} See Georges Wildenstein, The Paintings of Fragonard, Complete Edition, trans. by C.W. Chilton and A.L. Kitson, London 1960, cat. no. 30.
{2} See footnote 1 above.
{3} See footnote 1 above.
{4} See letter from Mrs. Herman C. Krannert to Carl J. Weinhardt of the IMA, dated 8 November 1973 in IMA Historical File (73.103.2).

Object Information

artist
Jean-Honoré Fragonard (French, 1732-1806)
creation date
about 1754
materials
oil on canvas
dimensions
57 x 38-1/2 in.
approximately 66-7/8 x 49-5/8 x 5 in. (framed)
accession number
73.103.2
credit line
Gift of Mrs. Herman C. Krannert
copyright
Public Domain
collection
European Painting and Sculpture Before 1800
colors