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246 × 189 × 30 mm
248 pages
114 colour illustrations
14 Sep 2020

Fragonard Painting Out of Time Satish Padiyar

At the time of his death in 1806, the Rococo artist Jean-Honoré Fragonard had not painted for two decades. Following a period of huge public success, the painter’s reputation fell. Personally secretive, Fragonard created revealing images that undermined a normal sense of space and time. Satish Padiyar investigates the life and work of the last of the libertine painters of the ancien régime, a contemporary of Denis Diderot and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and presents dramatic new perspectives on works such as The Progress of Love, painted for Madame du Barry, the infamous The Bolt and the ever-popular The Swing.

‘Fragonard spent much of his life as a fashionable painter of genre decorations for members of the French aristocracy, but when these patrons began losing their heads in 1789, Fragonard lost his commissions. Never quite able to make the transition over to a more democratic kind of painting, Fragonard put his brushes down for the last time sometime in the early 1790s. Satish Padiyar takes this moment as the starting point of his new investigation into Fragonard’s life and work, which focuses especially on the artist’s innovations in the field of drawing.’ — The New Criterion

‘Padiyar explores artist Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s life, work, and generally secretive existence in this beautiful book complete with history, personal thoughts and 114 illustrations . . . The book is a thorough exploration, painting a picture of how he came to be and how his legacy lives on in contemporary culture. A book worth buying very much for the imagery, which is splashed onto pages with intense colours.’ — The Connexion magazine

‘A brilliant new account of Fragonard’s art that reveals some of its most intriguing secrets.’ — Ewa Lajer-Burcharth, William Dorr Boardman Professor of Fine Arts, Harvard University and author of The Painter's Touch: Boucher, Chardin, Fragonard (2018)

‘Deeply erudite . . . [Padiyar] illuminates the whole field of later eighteenth-century art.’ — Thomas Crow, Rosalie Solow Professor of Modern Art, New York University

‘A fresh approach to this quintessential French eighteenth-century artist, Satish Padiyar’s book is also an innovative take on the genre of the monograph as it integrates biography and works in a novel and intelligent fashion. Making the most of the sparseness of information about Fragonard’s life, this beautifully written study weaves its narrative with discussions of the works along three themes: secrets, surprise, dreams. Surprising about the book itself is how the artist emerges as an entity from it, palpable in a way he has never been before.’ — Mechthild Fend, Professor of History of Art, University College London

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Satish Padiyar is Honorary Research Fellow at The Courtauld Institute of Art. His previous publications include Chains: David, Canova, and the Fall of the Public Hero in Postrevolutionary France (2007).


Chapter one: SECRETS
Chapter two: SURPRISE
Chapter three: DREAMS

Select Biography
Photo Acknowledgements