Jean-Honoré Fragonard (Grasse 1732–1806 Paris)
Young Woman (“La Coquette”), ca. 1770–73
Red chalk with touches of black chalk underdrawing on cream laid paper
14 3/8 × 8 1/4 in. (365 × 210 mm)
Promised Gift from the Collection of Elizabeth and Jean-Marie Eveillard
Photo Joseph Coscia Jr.
In the early 1770s—at the same time that he was working on the first four large canvases of the Progress of Love—Fragonard produced a group of red chalk drawings that depict single figures of young women standing in landscapes. Not necessarily linked to paintings, these drawings were exhibited and sold as works of art in their own right. The women depicted have traditionally, though unconvincingly, been identified as either Fragonard’s daughter Rosalie or his sister-in-law Marguerite Gérard. The sitter is elegantly though simply dressed in a robe à l’anglaise (a large skirt, attached to a tight-fitting bodice and sleeves, decorated with a square neckline). Her pointed right shoe emerges from underneath the skirt, suggesting the possibility of movement toward the viewer.