Fragonard is a well-known name in Grasse — if not the most famous — and everyone will recognise it as a prestigious perfumer brand in the region. But not all know that the family name goes back to the city’s celebrated son, artist Jean-Honoré Fragonard. A painter and sketcher who was born in Grasse in 1732, Jean-Honoré was one of the most important artists in 18th century France and he is revered in his hometown even though he only spent a few years there.
On to his son, Alexandre Evariste Fragonard, to whom the Villa Musée Fragonard is devoting a summer exhibition on the edge of the old town. An artist like his father, Alexandre was also born in Grasse (1780-1850) and exhibited his first works at the Paris Salon at the age of 13. The painter, sculptor and decorator soon broke
away from his Neoclassical beginnings and turned to Romanticism, which is reflected in his choice of motifs.
Again like his father, Alexandre expressed an enthusiasm for contemporary Flemish and Dutch styles. He has been largely forgotten, as the museum’s curator, Olivier Quiquempois, notes. Grasse itself has one of the most extensive collections of his art and throughout the 20th century bought up his works. Many have been buried in the archives of the city for years — a stroke of luck for the current exhibition. Numerous pieces on display have never been seen by the public, such as studies of the ceiling paintings in the Louvre.
Alexandre Evariste Fragonard: une collection grassoise
From 1st July to 1st October at the Villa Musée Fragonard
Open daily from 1pm to 7pm
Admission 2€ (including access to the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire de Provence)