painting of girl on swing
The original owner remains unclear. A firm provenance begins only with the tax farmer Marie-François Ménage de Pressigny, who was guillotined in 1794,  after which it was seized by the revolutionary government. It was possibly later owned by the marquis des Razins de Saint-Marc, and certainly by the duc de Morny. After his death in 1865, it was bought at auction in Paris by Lord Hertford, the main founder of the Wallace Collection. 
The painting depicts an elegant young woman on a swing. A smiling young man, hiding in the bushes on the left, watches her from a vantage point that allows him to see up into her billowing dress, where his arm is pointed with hat in hand. A smiling older man, who is nearly hidden in the shadows on the right, propels the swing with a pair of ropes. The older man appears to be unaware of the young man. As the young lady swings high, she throws her left leg up, allowing her dainty shoe to fly through the air. The lady is wearing a bergère hat (shepherdess hat). Two statues are present, one of a putto, who watches from above the young man on the left with its finger in front of its lips in a sign of silence, the other of pair of putti, who watch from beside the older man, on the right. There is a small dog shown barking in the lower right hand corner, in front of the older man. According to the memoirs of the dramatist Charles Collé,  a courtier (homme de la cour)  asked first Gabriel François Doyen to make this painting of him and his mistress. Not comfortable with this frivolous work, Doyen refused and passed on the commission to Fragonard.  The man had requested a portrait of his mistress seated on a swing being pushed by a bishop, but Fragonard painted a layman.
Swing Boots Print
View All Subjects
Fragonard’s iconic painting is one of the most emblematic images of 18th-century French art. A young woman wearing a lovely pink silk frock is tantalisingly positioned mid-air on a swing between her elderly husband on the right and her young lover on the left. The force of the swing caused one of her slippers to fly off, resulting in a privileged view for her lover whose delight is suggested by the symbolic offer of his hat.
This is a site-wide search, however if you are looking for specific collection pieces, please use the Collection Search feature.
Oil on canvas – Collection of The Frick Collection, New York, New York
Oil on canvas – Collection of MusГ©e du Louvre, Paris, France
Considered to be Fragonard’s most successful painting, The Swing stands alone today as an emblem of Rococo art. The combination of insouciant attitude, tongue-in-cheek eroticism, pastel swirls, and pastoral scenery creates an irresistible testament to the beauty of youth and illegitimate affairs. In Fragonard’s world, adultery is but a devilishly gay way to pass the time.
For this outdoor scene, Fragonard utilized a soft dappled sunlight filtering through the trees and backlighting them, infusing the scene with a soft, seductive glow. The light hits the young lady on the swing, highlighting her fair skin and the creamy billows of fabric that swirl around her.