The Pond

Jean-Honoré Fragonard
French (1732–1806)
18th century
c. 1761–65
Oil on canvas
25 3/4 x 28 3/4 in. (65.4 x 73.1 cm) Framed: 33 1/4 x 36 1/2 x 3 1/2 in. (84.5 x 92.7 x 8.9 cm)
AP 1968.03
Currently On View
Fragonard was the last and perhaps the greatest of the French Rococo painters. A pupil of François Boucher, from whom he developed his fluent handling of paint, he produced some of the most masterful and hedonistic decorations of the eighteenth century. A less familiar facet of his work is represented by a group of paintings inspired by seventeenth-century Dutch landscapes. These addressed a growing appreciation among a segment of the artist’s clientele for the simpler, more naturalistic style of the Dutch School. The Pond is particularly noteworthy as it is the only painting of this group that can be traced to a precise source, Jacob van Ruisdael’s Wooded Landscape with a Pond (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston). Fragonard borrowed the sandy road, the disposition of the trees, and the open expanse of blue sky, but added a colorful note with the inclusion of a barking dog and two women who appear to be fishing for crayfish.

Provenance

François Leroy de Sennéville, Paris, to 1780; (his sale, Paillet, Paris, 5 April 1780, no. 49, as “Paysage touffu d’Arbres,” bought in); (his sale, Paillet, Paris, 26 April 1784, no. 28); (purchased by Quenet, Paris for 144 livres). (Possible sale, Paris, 2 May 1870, no. 13). (Possible sale, Paris, 27 April 1872, no. 6). François Hippolyte Walferdin [1795-1880], Paris, to 1880; (his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 3 April 1880, no. 15, as “La mare”); (purchased by Hector Brame for 1050 francs). Alexis Joseph Febvre, Paris; (his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 17-20 April 1882, no. 10, as “Étang dans un Bois,” sold for 750 francs). Private American collection by 1925; (Newhouse Galleries, Inc., New York); purchased by Kimbell Art Foundation, Fort Worth, 1968.