Lot 92Jean-Honore Fragonard
French, 1732 - 1806
Oil on panel
9 3/8 x 12 7/8 inches (23.8 x 32.7 cm.)
Carrier: sold, March 9-10, 1846, no.91
Hippolyte Walferdin (1795 - 1880), by 1860: sold posthumously, April 12-16, 1880, no.34 to Pilloy
de Beurnonville: sold, May 9-16, 1881, no.71
Felix Doistrau: 1904, sold, June 9-11, 1909, no.38, ill.
Mme. Brasseur, Lille: sold, June 1, 1928, no.16, ill.
Irving Laughlin, Washington
Private Collection, New York
Collection of Gertrude L. Chanler, New York
Galerie Martinent, Paris 1860 "Catalogue de Tableaux et dessin de l'Ecole francaises principalement du XVIIIe siecle, tires de collections d'amateurs"
Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, "L'Art francais au XVIIIe siecle" 1904
Paris, Galleries, Georges Petit, "Chardin-Fragonard" 1909
Thore, Th., Exposition de Tableaux de l'ecole francaise ancienne tires de collections d'amateurs, Gazette de Beaux-Arts, 186, p.348
Gautier, Th. "Tableaux de l'ecole francaise ancienne" Le Moniteur Universel, Nov. 16, 1860, p.2
Saint-Victor, P. de. "Exposition de Tableau anciens." Beaux-Arts, Oct. 19, 1860, n.p.
Portalis R., Baron. La Collection Walferdin et ses Fragonard Gazette des Beaux-Arts, Apr. 1880, pp.297-322
Portalis, R. Baron. Honore Fragonard: Sa Vie, son oeuvre. 2 vols. Paris 1889
Nolhac, P. de. J.-H. Fragonard 1732 - 1806, Paris 1906, p.165
Dayot, A. and L Vaillat, L'Oeuvre de J.-B.-S. Chardin et de J.-H. Fragonard, Paris, 1907, no.121, ill.
Revue de l'art ancien et moderne, 1928, pp.271-272, ill.
Wilhelm, J. "In Search of Some Missing Fragonard Paintings", Art Quarterly, Winter 1955, pp.371
Reau, L. Fragonard, Brussels, 1956, pp.141-142, 188
Wildenstein, G., The Painting of Fragonard, Aylesbury, 1960, p.15, fig.10
Wildenstein, D., and G. Mandel, L'Opera completa di Fragonard, Milan, 1972, no.17, ill.
The Visitation has a long history in both the literature and exhibitions. It is one of three extant oil sketches for Fragonard's lost masterpiece of the subject. The original work, thought to date from early in the artist's career, caused quite a sensation when it was auctioned in 1777 for $7030 livres-- a record price for what was then a contemporary painting. When the present sketch was exhibited in public in 1860 it drew quite a response from the literary critics. Paul de Saint-Victor referred to it as "a pearl, radiating an aureole of light." And Thore declared it to be "a small masterpiece of extreme delicacy and of the most harmonious color." It has since appeared in several major exhibitions devoted to the work of the artist, including the most recent retrospective that visited the Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1987.
It first appears in sales in France in 1846. It remained there for several generations gracing a number of prominent collections. In 1928 the painting was acquired by Irwin Laughlin, former ambassador to Spain (1929 - 1933) and a major American collector of French art. Much of the artwork passed on to his daughter Gertrude Chanler, who upon her death in 1999, made a significant donation to the Prints and Drawings Department of the National Gallery of Art in Washington. This gift included work several drawings by Fragonard and Boucher as well as sheets by Piranesi and Natoire.
Sold for $280,000
Estimate $ 225,000-275,000