Toledo Museum of Art opens Love and Play: A Pair of Paintings by Fragonard

The Toledo Museum of Art presents Love and Play: A Pair of Paintings by Fragonard, an exhibition on view Jan. 24 – May 4, 2014. It’s the first in the Museum’s ENCOUNTERS series, concentrated shows and installations that pair exceptional works of art in new or interesting ways.

Jean-Honoré Fragonard (French, 1732–1806), Blind-Man’s Buff. about 1750–55. Oil on canvas, 46 in. x 36 in. (116.8 cm x 91.4 cm.) Purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1954.43

Jean-Honoré Fragonard (French, 1732–1806), Blind-Man’s Buff. about 1750–55. Oil on canvas, 46 in. x 36 in. (116.8 cm x 91.4 cm.) Purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1954.43

Blind Man’s Buff, part of the Museum’s collection, and The See-Saw, on loan from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid, will be displayed alongside two engraved copies of the paintings, a terracotta sculpture by Clodion and a small selection of French decorative arts of the period.

Painted in Paris in the first years of the 1750s, they were likely commissioned by Baron Baillet de Saint-Julien and subsequently passed through the hands of private 18th-century collectors, a Parisian comte and a Rothschild. When they came onto the open market in 1954, they were finally separated.

The companion works were later brought together in temporary exhibitions held in London in 1968 and both Paris and New York in 1987 and 1988.

Fragonard (1732–1806) was one of the premier artists of the 18th-century Rococo era of French painting, along with Jean-Antoine Watteau, Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin and François Boucher (all represented in the Museum’s galleries). The son of a glove maker, Fragonard was born in Grasse in the south of France and came to Paris with his family as a young boy. His talent was recognized early on and, following an initial apprenticeship with Chardin at 18, he entered the studio of Boucher. Boucher’s art, both in subject matter and style, became a great influence on the younger artist. www.toledomuseum.org

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