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Jean-Honoré Fragonard

1732 - 1806

Fragonard was born at Grasse, in the south of France. He trained in Paris with Chardin and then Boucher. In 1752 he won the Prix de Rome, and then entered the royal school of Elèves Protégés, directed by Carle van Loo. He was at the French Academy in Rome from 1756 to 1761.

After his return to France, Fragonard was initially successful as a painter of decorative schemes. He received a setback when his now-famous series, 'The Progress of Love' of 1771 (New York, Frick Collection), commissioned by Madame du Barry, the last mistress of Louis XV, was refused in preference to classicising scenes by Marie-Joseph Vien.

He paid a second visit to Italy in 1773-4, continuing on his return to paint landscapes, fanciful portraits and scenes of everyday life, as well as working as a book illustrator. From the mid-1780s his style, while retaining its dynamism, became more Neo-classical. Between 1793 and 1800 he was heavily involved in arts administration.