National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Young Girl Reading Jean-Honoré Fragonard (artist)
French, 1732 - 1806
Young Girl Reading, c. 1770
oil on canvas
overall: 81.1 x 64.8 cm (31 15/16 x 25 1/2 in.) framed: 104.9 x 89.5 x 2.2 cm (41 5/16 x 35 1/4 x 7/8 in.)
Gift of Mrs. Mellon Bruce in memory of her father, Andrew W. Mellon
On View
From the Tour: 18th-Century France — Boucher and Fragonard
Object 6 of 8


Verrier;[1] (his sale, Paillet at Hôtel d'Aligre, Paris, 11 March 1776 and days following, no. 80); purchased by Mailly or Neiully [sic]. (sale, Paillet at Hôtel d'Aligre, Paris, 7 February 1777, no. 15). Jean François Leroy de Sennéville [1715-1784], Paris; (his sale, Chariot and Paillet at Hôtel de Bullion, Paris, 5-11 April 1780, no. 59); purchased by Duquesnoy, Paris; (his sale, at his residence by Regnault, Paris, 1-3 March 1803, no. 19). (sale, Alliance des Arts, Paris, 26 April 1844, no. 14). Casimir Perrin, marquis de Cypierre [1783-1844], Paris; (his estate sale, at his residence by Thoré, Paris, 10 March 1845 and days following, no. 55). Comte Pierre de Kergorlay [1847-1919], by 1889.[2] (Gimpel and Wildenstein, Paris); sold 1899 to Ernest Cronier [1840-1905], Paris; (his estate sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 4-5 December 1905, 1st day, no. 8); purchased by Ducrey. Dr. Théodore Tuffier [1859-1929], Paris, by 1910 [or possibly purchased 1905 at Cronier sale through Ducrey], until at least 1928. (Wildenstein & Co., Inc., Paris, New York, and London); Alfred W. Erickson [1876-1936], New York, by 1930;[3] by inheritance to his wife, Anna Edith McCann Erickson [d. 1961], New York; (her sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, 15 November 1961, no. 16); purchased by NGA with funds provided by Ailsa Mellon Bruce [1901-1969], New York.

[1] The first name in the provenance was published in the 2009 NGA Systematic Catalogue (entry on the painting by Richard Rand, in Philip Conisbee, et al. French Paintings of the Fifteenth through the Eighteenth Century. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 2009: no. 31, 160-166) as "Possibly comte du Barry, Paris," based on the provenance for the painting according to Georges Wildenstein, The Paintings of Fragonard, complete edition, New York, 1960: no. 391, and repeated throughout the literature. This incorrect identification of the seller at the March 1776 auction has been corrected by The Getty Provenance Index Databases, in their Description of Sale Catalog F-A406. See also Marie-Anne Dupuy-Vachey, "Fragonard's 'fantasy figures': prelude to a new understanding," The Burlington Magazine 157, no. 1345 (April 2015): 242-243. Verrier was also the seller at an auction in November of the same year (originally scheduled for 14 November, but postponed to 18 November 1776); Dupuy-Vachey suggests he might be Robert Charles Verrier, who died 11 May 1776.

[2] Jacques Dumont de Montroy, Les Kergorlay dans l'Oise et en Normandie, Beauvais, 2006: 167-170; Roger Portalis, Honoré Fragonard: sa vie et son oeuvre, 2 vols., Paris, 1889: 282. Comte Denis de Kergorlay kindly provided a copy of the 2006 book about his family, enabling the identification of the "Comte de Kergorlay" named as the painting's owner in 1889. Pierre de Kergorlay's second wife, Marie de Caulainecourt de Vicence (1859-1902), was through her mother a granddaughter of Casimir Perrin, marquis de Cypierre, who owned the painting in 1844, the year of his death. Although the painting appears to have sold at the marquis' 1845 estate sale, it possibly remained in the family and came to Pierre de Kergorlay through his second marriage in 1880.

[3] An annotated copy of the 1905 sales catalogue in the NGA Library provides Ducrey's name, who was possibly buying for Tuffier. Correspondence between the Paris and New York offices of Duveen Brothers, Inc., in 1927 and 1928 discusses the painting and the possibility of purchasing it from Tuffier; Wildenstein is also mentioned as a possible buyer (Duveen Brothers Records, Getty Research Institute Library, Los Angeles, accession no. 960015, reel 97, box 242, folder 16; copies in NGA curatorial files). René Gimpel (Diary of an Art Dealer, translated by John Rosenberg, New York, 1966: 398), in a diary entry of 16 February 1930, writes of seeing the painting two days before at the Erickson residence, and describes it as "from the old Crosnier[sic] Collection, bought at his sale by Professor Tuffier..."

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