JEAN-HONORÉ FRAGONARD (Grasse 1732-1806 Paris)
Orlando subdues a brigand with a firebrand (Orlando furioso, XIII, 34-36)
black chalk, brown and gray wash, watermark letters in a circle
1518 x 1012 in. (38.5 x 26.5 cm)
Probably the artist’s family.
Hippolyte Walferdin (1795-1880), Paris; Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 12-16 April 1880, lot 228.
Louis Roederer (1845-1880), Reims; by descent to his nephew
Léon Olry-Roederer (1870-1932), Reims and Paris.
with Thos. Agnew and Sons, London 1922; acquired en blocby
Abraham Simon Wolf Rosenbach (1876-1952), Philadelphia, until 1952; acquired from his estate by
John Fleming (1910-1987), New York and Larchmont; sold in 1955 to an
American private collector.
with Thos. Agnew and Sons, London, probably sold around 2005-2006 to
Nina R. and Arthur A. Houghton, Jr.
E. Mongan, P. Hofer and J. Seznec, Fragonard. Drawings for Ariosto, London, 1945, p. 74, pl. 95.
M.-A. Dupuy-Vachey, Fragonard et le Roland Furieux, Paris, 2003, no. 126, ill.
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Lot Essay

This sheet is one of a series of at least 179 drawings produced by Fragonard around 1780 illustrating Ludovico Ariosto’s sixteenth-century epic poem Orlando furioso. Here, the story's hero, Orlando, is wielding a firebrand in order to subdue a brigand who had kept the young Isabella, daughter of the King of Galicia, prisoner in a cave for eight months. It is not known whether Fragonard embarked on the ambitious project for his own pleasure or in the hope of obtaining a commission for an illustrated printed edition. At Fragonard’s death the series was retained by his fmily in Grasse until it was acquired by the great collector of French 18th Century art, Hippolyte Walferdin. By 1928 many of the sheets had been sold individually or in small groups and are now dispersed in public and private collections around the world. Twelve other drawings from the group were at Christie’s, New York, 28 January 2021, lots 40-52.

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