JEAN-HONORÉ FRAGONARD (Grasse 1732-1806 Paris) The Holy Family with the St. John the Baptist in a Landscape.
Black chalk counter-proof extensively reworked with black chalk on cream laid paper mounted on card stock with a decorative ink border, circa 1761. 168x259 mm; 6 3/4x10 1/4 inches. Inscribed in black chalk, in reverse in the counter-proof, "Du Titien Palais du Duc de Modesnes."
Provenance: Paul Prouté, Paris; private collection, Illinois.
Published Ananoff, L'oeuvre dessiné de Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Paris, 1961-70, 2642 or 2642a; Rosenberg, Panopticon italiano: Un diario di viaggio ritrovato 1759-1761, Rome, 2000, number 257.
Fragonard stayed in Rome, studying old master paitings and classical architecture, for a four year sojourn, December 1756 to April 1761, with his friend and fellow artist, Jean-Claude Richard de Saint-Non (1727-1791), known as the "Abbé de Saint-Non." During his several month return voyage to Paris, Fragonard stopped in Modena to visit the art collection, in the Estense Gallery, belonging to the Duke of Modena, Francesco III, on July 7 and 8, 1761. There he made studies of old master paintings, including this work, thought to be after a painting by Titian at the time, though now considered a work by Polidoro Lanzani. Fragonard then took his black chalk drawing of the painting, applied it to a dampened black sheet and transferred the design, which he continued to make additions to, embellish and revise in black chalk.