NEW YORK, N.Y.-
Jean-Honoré Fragonards Progress of Love is one of the great painted ensembles of French eighteenthcentury art and is considered to be the artists masterpiece. For more than seventy-five years, the panels have been a highlight of The Frick Collection
. Colin B. Baileys keenly awaited and beautifully illustrated book published in September by the museum in association with D. Giles Limited provides an invaluable and engaging resource on the sequence and meaning of the panels in the series. It explores the history of the work from its conception in France to its rediscovery by two great American collectors more than one hundred years later and tells the fascinating story of how the group of canvases found a permanent home in the New York City mansion of Henry Clay Frick, where the museums visitors enjoy them today.
The tale, however, has resonance and appeal beyond the walls of the institution. A study of these beautiful panels offers a window into the complex world of art and architectural tastemakers and patronage in eighteenth-century France, as well as the history of collecting in Europe and America during the two centuries that followed their creation. Fragonards Progress of Love at The Frick Collection was written by Bailey, the Fricks Associate Director and Peter Jay Sharp Curator. In celebration of the early September release of the book, the Frick will host a free public lecture and book-signing as well as a scholarly seminar.
This publication is the result of several years of newand heretofore unpublished research by author Colin B. Bailey. The richly illustrated book features more than 135 color images of the masterpiece and details thereof, much of it new photography; as well as archival and contemporary views of the rooms that Fragonards series has occupied, plans, original sketches, and comparative images.
Comments Bailey, To write a history of the Fragonard Room was a challenge I considered taking on shortly after arriving at the Frick in October 2000. It has always been my favorite gallery in any museum, and I have studied the pictures and taught eighteenth-century French art from them for longer than I care to remember. When the Frick renovated the room and its lighting system in 2007, we had the opportunity to view the pictures afresh, which renewed my commitment to publish their complete story. But this book simply could not have been written without the support of almost every colleague in the curatorial department. Indeed, the book is reflective of the deep resources and expertise of the Fricks curatorial and library staff and draws on a great body of research materials, new photographs and photomontages, x-rays and site plans, and archival materials relating to J. P. Morgan and Henry Clay Frick as collectors. For the first time, it will be possible to visualize the different arrangement of Fragonards series in its three homes prior to the move to East 70th Street in 1915.