Online Lecture | Yuriko Jackall, The Fragonard Project

Posted in lectures (to attend), online learning by Editor on October 25, 2021

From The Wallace Collection:

Yuriko Jackall, The Fragonard Project
Zoom Webinar and YouTube, The Wallace Collection, London, 18 November 2021, 13.00 GMT

Between 2019 and 2021, five of the Wallace Collection’s eight paintings by Jean-Honoré Fragonard were cleaned and restored. This project has led to new discoveries about Fragonard’s working methods and provides the possibility for new interpretations of his work. Join our Head of Curatorial and Curator of French Paintings, Dr Yuriko Jackall, as she discusses this project and gives her reading of The Swing and its place in Fragonard’s career. She will also describe the long shadow of Fragonard’s influence, and how the ups and downs of his glittering career indelibly shaped the way in which we understand his art and the rococo aesthetic today. Thursday, 18 November 2021, 13.00 GMT.

This talk will be hosted online through Zoom and YouTube. Please click here to register for Zoom.

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From the press release for the project:

Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Les hasards heureux de l’escarpolette (The Swing), detail, after conservation, 1767–68, oil on canvas, 81 × 64 cm (London: The Wallace Collection).

Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s painting, The Swing, is the most iconic painting of the entire Rococo movement and one of the Wallace Collection’s most famous works of art. It has been admired for centuries for its romantic composition, skilful brushwork, and masterly use of colour. References to The Swing can be found in literature, contemporary art, design, and cinema. It is sought out and admired by thousands of visitors to the museum each year.

Despite its fame, relatively little is known about the painting. The circumstances of its commission are vague, with Fragonard opting to undertake a painting that other ‘academic’ painters had refused on account of its scandalous theme. Fragonard’s methods in building the composition are also unclear. In addition to this, the paint surface was previously obscured by yellowed varnish and old retouching had become visible.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Bank of America Art Conservation Project, throughout the summer of 2021 The Swing underwent intricate, sensitive highly skilled conservation and technical analysis for the first time. Uniquely, the conservation treatment has taken place in house at the Wallace Collection, with one of its conservation studios temporarily transformed especially for the purpose. The work has been undertaken by Martin Wyld, former Head of Conservation at the National Gallery, where he worked for more than 40 years restoring works by artists such as Leonardo and Velazquez.

Investigations have shed light on the mysteries surrounding The Swing and developed our understanding of Fragonard and his methods as an artist. The removal of the yellowed varnish has transformed the painting. The white lace of the young girl’s dress is now crisp, the composition has taken on a new sense of depth, background details are now apparent, and the overall freshness and texture of the artist’s paint surface has been restored. Little underdrawing or preparatory studies have been identified. Fragonard appears to have worked confidently and skilfully, directly on the canvas, to create The Swing, his finest masterpiece. The painting is being reinstalled in the specially relit galleries in November 2021, alongside the other seven Fragonard works in the Wallace Collection, allowing visitors to see for the first time how the artist developed across his career.

The return of The Swing is accompanied by a special season of events, which encompasses free public talks with special guests, a focused study course, and a book signing. The Collection has documented the conservation process and commissioned an insightful film exploring Fragonard and The Swing’s influence.

Online Conversations | Swing Time

Posted in lectures (to attend), online learning by Editor on October 25, 2021

A series of five conversations hosted by The Wallace Collection:

Swing Time: Serendipitous Conversations about the Rococo
Zoom Webinar and YouTube, The Wallace Collection, London, 8 November — 6 December 2021

Fragonard’s Les hasards heureux de l’escarpolette, known in English as The Swing, is a revered painting in the Wallace Collection and one of the most representative works of art of the entire French 18th century. To celebrate the gentle cleaning and restoration of this rococo icon, we have invited five art practitioners and five scholars to participate in a series of virtual conversations inspired by its key themes: Pink, Identity, Fashion, Play, and The Libertine. Join Dr Yuriko Jackall, Head of Curatorial and Curator of French Paintings at the Wallace Collection, to discover the influence of rococo art, and The Swing in particular, on artistic production today. The series will be recorded and made available on the Wallace Collection YouTube channel. Register for any of the five free talks here.

P I N K  |  Yuriko Jackall in conversation with Flora Yukhnovich and Valerie Steele
Monday, 8 November 2021, 19.00 GMT

Why is the colour pink so often associated with the frivolous, the dainty, and the overtly feminine? A plethora of images—of pink babies, pink flowers, pink fashion accessories—has cemented the gendering of pink in our collective imagination. Such is the case of Fragonard’s Swing, which displays at its centre a young woman in a billowing pink dress. Yuriko Jackall, artist Flora Yukhnovich, and curator Valerie Steele explore the widespread perception of the colour pink as particularly representative of femininity and the Rococo. See full event details here.

I D E N T I T Y  |  Yuriko Jackall in conversation with Catherine Yass and Rosalind McKever
Monday, 22 November 2021, 19.00 GMT

The name and motivations of the person who commissioned The Swing remain obscure. So do the identities of the three people depicted. Only the painter, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, is known to us. In cases like these, art historians rely upon visual clues to understand what is being represented. Yuriko Jackall is joined by artist Catherine Yass and curator Rosalind McKever in a conversation about how visual codes—dress, gesture, and representation of place—shape the way in which we read and perceive identity. See full event details here.

F A S H I O N  |  Yuriko Jackall in conversation with Sami Nouri and Jessica Degain
Monday, 29 November 2021, 19.00 GMT

During the last decades of the ancien régime (1760–1789), Paris became the epicentre of the fashion world. Vogues for hairstyle, dress shape, fabric patterns, or silk colour came and went, with the vertiginous rapidity associated to today’s ever-evolving fashion industry. Like his teacher, François Boucher, Fragonard excelled in putting his protagonists in the latest fashions. The fabrics, trimmings, and garments flowing from the brushes of these painters have, in turn, inspired fashion designers for the last 250 years. Join Yuriko Jackall, haute-couture fashion designer Sami Nouri, and curator Jessica Degain as they explore how 18th-century fashions continue to resonate today. See full event details here.

P L A Y  |  Yuriko Jackall in conversation with Monster Chetwynd and Alice Strang
Monday, 6 December 2021, 19.00 GMT

In sharp opposition to the architectural and rectilinear motifs of Classicism, the rococo aesthetic is populated by sinuous forms inspired by nature. Rocks, shells, leafy branches and sprigs of flowers introduce novelty and a sense of surprise into the furniture, wall panels and textiles of the eighteenth century. In turn, the unexpected playfulness of these rococo interiors encouraged a certain theatricality and whimsy in the demeanour of those who inhabited them. Yuriko Jackall, artist Monster Chetwynd, and curator Alice Strang discuss the resonance of rococo playfulness in contemporary practice, with special attention to layering, unusual juxtapositions, and the role of performance art as a means for exploring the eccentricities of everyday life. See full event details here.

T H E  L I B E R T I N E  |  Yuriko Jackall in conversation with Simon Bejer and Chantal Thomas
Monday, 6 December 2021, 19.00 GMT

After enduring years of tight control under Louis XIV, the 18th-century privileged classes enjoyed unprecedented freedom during the Regency and the reign of Louis XV. In Paris, their lives unfolded at the opera, the theatre, and the masked ball. In their country estates and suburban maisons de plaisance, they tasted the escapist delights of the French pleasure garden. The intimacy of these environments invited a relaxation of etiquette and, occasionally, the transgression of moral codes. In the final conversation of our series, Yuriko Jackall, artist and theatre designer Simon Bejer, and writer Chantal Thomas, discuss how changes in moral codes in 18th-century France impacted the arts and literature. See full event details here.



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