Museum Villa Jean Fragonard
It was one of the first homes built outside the city center at the time. It belonged to three old Provencal families before the villa was bought by Alexandre Maubert, a wealthy perfume merchant. Maubert was a cousin of Jean-Honoré Fragonard and welcomed him to his home in 1790-91, when Fragonard had to leave Paris for political reasons.
The town of Grasse acquired the house when it was for sale in 1977, to turn it into a museum
Fragonard was one of the most prolific of eighteenth-century painters and illustrators. Born in 1732 in Grasse in the south of France, he moved with his family at an early age to Paris.
Copies and fantastic trompe-l’oeil
Over the course of four decades, he produced many brilliantly realized easel paintings, such as The Swing (London, Wallace Collection), from 1767 or the Portraits de fantaisie (Paris, Musée du Louvre and elsewhere), painted in the late 1760s and early 1770s; and large decorative works, the most significant example being the four magisterial canvases known as the Progress of Love (1771–1772; New York, Frick Collection), commissioned by Madame du Barry (1743–1793).
Today, magnificent copies of these paintings adorn the museum’s salons. In addition to original drawings and paintings by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, you will discover on the staircase, a fantastic decoration made as a trompe-l’oeil.
“Trompe-l’oeil” is a special technique that deceives the eye – a genre within art that tries to make it impossible for the eye to distinguish between a painted and a real object.
You can also experience one of Jean Honoré Fragonard’s rare religious paintings in Notre Dame de Puy Cathedral – “Washing of Feet” from 1754.
During the last decade of his life, his artistic output diminished, perhaps in the realization that his late Rococo style was out of step with the times. He died in 1806.
In the lower floor of the villa on the garden side is another museum worth visiting – the Musee de la Marine de Admiral de Grasse. Cafe des Musee and Parfumeri Fragonard are just a 3-minute walk away.
By Tommy Sverre / 2021
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