The Sweetness of Life: Three 18th-Century French Paintings from The Frick Collection

Jules and Edmond de Goncourt, the eminent 19th-century historians of French art and society, baptized the 1700s the “century of women.” Though 18th-century women did make strides in the sciences, literature and the arts, they were most often portrayed in genre scenes pursuing leisurely, quotidian pleasures and tasks. Three superb 18th-century French genre paintings from The Frick Collection in New York, part of an ongoing reciprocal exchange program, are on view this summer at the Museum. These artfully constructed visions of contemporary life and fashion, as depicted by François Boucher, Jean-Baptiste Siméon Chardin and Jean-Baptiste Greuze, provide viewers with an intimate look at the lives of middle-class French women of the 1740s and 1750s. The paintings will be installed in the Museum’s 18th-century Rococo gallery among its own works by Chardin and Boucher, as well as paintings by Jean-Antoine Watteau and Jean-Honoré Fragonard.