France, two Fragonards found missing since 1786

Two paintings by Jean-Honoré Fragonard believed to have been missing since 1786 are found in a chateau in Normandy. They will be exhibited in Paris on June 9 and 10.

Two paintings by Jean-Honoré Fragonard (Grasse, 1732 - Paris, 1806) that were thought to have been lost since 1786, when the then owner gave them away, have been found in a chateau in Normandy, and from that time onward all trace of them was lost. The paintings are known as Le jeu de la bascule (“The Game of the Tilting Swing”) and Le jeu de la palette (“The Game of the Paddle”) and were known to scholars only through derivative works. These would be works probably created upon Fragonard’s return from Rome in 1761.

News of the discovery was reported in last Saturday’s edition of the French newspaper Le Figaro and was later picked up by all national media. The discovery is said to have occurred by pure chance: last July, the owners of the chateau reportedly called in the director of the Tajan auction house, Thaddée Prate, for an appraisal, and the discovery allegedly occurred on that occasion. However, none of the owners can say since when the two Fragonard works would be in the chateau. Pending more in-depth studies, the French Ministry of Cultural Heritage decided in a May 10 decree to classify the two paintings as “trésors nationaux” (“national treasures”): meaning that they will not be allowed to leave France for at least the next 30 months, a time frame that should allow potential patrons to put together the necessary sum to buy them and direct them to a French museum. After the 30 months have passed, the auction house will be able to apply for a certificate of free movement in order to sell them abroad.

The two works (for which an estimate of 6 million euros has been made) will be exhibited at Tajan’s, in Paris, on June 9 and 10.

Source: Le Figaro

Image: the two paintings by Fragonard. Top, Le jeux de la bascule. Bottom, Le jeux de la palette (both paintings: c. 1761; oil on panel, 75 x 93 cm; Private collection).

France, two Fragonards found missing since 1786
France, two Fragonards found missing since 1786

Warning: the translation into English of the original Italian article was created using automatic tools. We undertake to review all articles, but we do not guarantee the total absence of inaccuracies in the translation due to the program. You can find the original by clicking on the ITA button. If you find any mistake,please contact us.