Enfilade

Exhibition | Love & Play: A Pair of Paintings by Fragonard

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on January 27, 2014

From the museum’s press release:

Love & Play: A Pair of Paintings by Fragonard
Toledo Museum of Art, 24 January — 4 May 2014

toledo-2Jean-Honoré_Fragonard_-_Blind-Man’s_Buff_-_Google_Art_Project

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The original wardrobe malfunction might have originated more than 250 years ago, at the hands of a 20-something Frenchman named Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Fragonard was only beginning to discover his niche as a portrayer of thinly veiled eroticism when he painted an errant body part peeking out from his subject’s frilly 18th-century dress. The resulting work of art, Blind Man’s Buff, and its companion, The See-Saw, comprised a pair of paintings that must have delighted his patron with symbolic depictions of seduction.

The two works will be reunited for the first time in 25 years in a special focus exhibition at the Toledo Museum of Art titled Love and Play: A Pair of Paintings by Fragonard, on view January 24 until May 4, 2014 in Gallery 28. 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.

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.

“They’re risqué, they’re provocative—and the artist intended these canvases to be seen together,” said Lawrence W. Nichols, William Hutton senior curator of European and American painting and sculpture before 1900. “So to reunite these two very important paintings by one of the most significant French artists of the 18th century is quite an exciting opportunity.”

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. (more…)