Discover all 14 City of Paris museums

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 Anonymous - Sedan chair
François Boucher - The little dog’s dance
Jean-Baptiste Greuze - Young Shepherd Holding a Flower
Hubert Robert - The Laundry
 Jean Moisy (clockmaker) and Jean-Claude Chambellan known as Duplessis (goldsmith) - Organ pipe clock with a monkey orchestra
Hubert Robert - Washerwomen in a garden
 Adrien Delorme and Pierre Roussel - Chest of drawers
Giambattista  Tiepolo - Alexander and Bucephalus
Nicolas Sageot - « Mazarin » table desk
Claude Joseph Vernet - The Tivoli Cascades
Jean-Honoré Fragonard - Jérôme de La Lande
 Manufacture de Beauvais - Tapestry : Psyche Led by the West Wind into the Palace of Love and Psyche Showing Her Wealth to Her Sisters
Roger Van der Cruse known as La Croix or RVLC (Attributed to) - Combination furniture : commode with doors, secretaire in drawer, wardrobe
Jacques Louis David - The death of Seneca
Giovanni Antonio (dit Gianantonio) Pellegrini - Esquisse pour le plafond de la Banque Royale : Le Déchargement en bord de Seine de marchandises en provenance de la Louisiane

Jérôme de La Lande

1732, Grasse (Alpes-Maritimes) - 1806, Paris
circa 1769
Oil on canvas
72 x 59,5 cm

This work executed circa 1769 by Fragonard, then at the peak of his art, is perhaps part of his famous series of fantastical portraits, several of which are held at the Louvre Museum.

This is a group of portraits painted with quick brushstrokes, all in the same format, depicting the artists’ friends or customers, such as Diderot, Mademoiselle Guimard, a famous dancer, and the Abbot of St. Non. The upper half of these figures are depicted dressed in opulent “fantasy” outfits or “Spanish-style” costumes as they were known at the time, accompanied by a few accessories that perhaps symbolised the model’s profession. Although it is of a slightly different size from the rest of the series, the painting at the Petit Palais is typical of these genre portraits.

For a long time the colouring pencils and paintbrushes led us to believe that this was a portrait of the pastel artist, Charles Naudin. Because of the presence of the globe, most historians now believe, albeit without certainty, that Fragonard in fact painted Jérôme de La Lande, (Joseph-Jérôme Le François known as Lalande, 1732-1807), an astronomer who was very famous in his time. Lalande became famous by predicting the passage of Halley’s Comet, accurate to a month, and also calculated the distance between the earth and the moon.

The facial features, particularly the very domed forehead, and the bald head are reminiscent of the official portraits of Jérôme de LaLande, in particular a terracotta bust modelled by Houdon. However, without attaching too much importance to resemblance, Fragonard seems to have improved on the looks of his model, who was very ugly.

Whoever the model was, this remains a beautiful painting in which Fragonard essentially sought to capture a fleeting expression. With a hasty execution and vigorous, even imperious touch, he gives a sketch-like feel to his work, conveying the vivacity and intelligence of its subject wonderfully.

M. A. P.

Inventory number: 
Inventory number : PDUT01194
Acquisition details : Purchased using interest from the Dutuit bequest, 1978
Room 11
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