Alexandre-Evariste FRAGONARD

Grasse 1780 - Paris 1850


The son of the painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Evariste Fragonard studied with his father before entering the studio of Jacques-Louis David at an early age. A precocious student, he made his Salon debut in 1793 at the age of only thirteen, exhibiting a drawing of Timoleon Sacrificing his Brother. A few months later he won two second prize medals at the great concours held in the Year II of the Republic. He continued to show regularly at the Salon until 1842, exhibiting drawings, scenes from Napoleonic history and, from around 1820 onwards, troubadour paintings. In 1810 he received a commission to paint a series of grisailles for the Palais Bourbon, and later won several further official commissions, including a series of historical subjects for the museum at Versailles and ceiling paintings for the Louvre. Equally adept at large-scale history scenes and intimate cabinet pictures, Fragonard was in great demand throughout his later career. He painted works for several Parisian churches, including a Martyrdom of Saint James for Saint-Jacques-du-Haut-Pas and an Assumption of the Virgin for Saint-Geneviève, as well as a Flight into Egypt for Strasbourg Cathedral.

Fragonard was also active as a sculptor and, like his father, produced designs for lithographs and book illustrations, notably Baron Taylor’s Voyages pittoresques et romantiques dans l’ancienne France, for which he designed some 160 illustrations for the volumes devoted to the Auvergne, Franche-Comté, Languedoc and Haute-Normandie. Between 1806 and 1839 he also created numerous decorative designs for Sèvres porcelain, which accounts for some of his finest drawings. His son Théophile was also a painter, mainly of romantic genre subjects. Important groups of drawings by Evariste Fragonard are today in the collections of the Louvre, the Manufacture de Sèvres and the Musée Fragonard in Grasse, while other significant examples are in the Musée Magnin in Dijon, the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Orléans and elsewhere.