The Happy Mother

Artist: Jean Honoré Fragonard (French, Grasse 1732–1806 Paris)

Date: ca. 1760

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 19 1/4 x 23 3/8 in. (48.9 x 59.4 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1946

Accession Number: 46.30


Rather few eighteenth-century French artists would have painted a laundry, which is evidently what we see here (Chardin would be the significant exception).

This genre scenes dates to about 1760, toward the end of Fragonard's first trip to Italy, or shortly after his return to France. His impetuous technique falls between the usual stages of preparatory sketch and finished work. The surface has suffered some wear and damage, but the central figure group is intact. Fragonard paints the chaotic domestic interior with warmth and feeling.