Marguerite Gérard

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Marguerite Gérard
Dumont - Marguerite Gérard.jpg
Marguerite Gérard, by François Dumont
Born (1761-01-28)28 January 1761[1]
Grasse, France
Died 18 May 1837(1837-05-18) (aged 76)
Paris, France
Nationality French
Known for painting, etching
Style Genre art

Marguerite Gérard (28 January 1761 in Grasse – 18 May 1837 in Paris)[1] was a French painter and etcher. She was the daughter of Marie Gilette and perfumer Claude Gérard. At 8 years old she became the sister-in-law of Jean-Honoré Fragonard, and when she was 14, she came to live with him. She was also the aunt of the artist Alexandre-Évariste Fragonard. Gérard became Fragonard's pupil in the mid-1770s and studied painting, drawing and printmaking under his tutelage. She appears to have executed five etchings in 1778 in collaboration with the master.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Upon the death of her mother in 1775, Marguerite Gérard took up residence in the Louvre with her sister and her sister's husband Jean-Honoré Fragonard. She lived in the Louvre for approximately thirty years, allowing her to view and be inspired by great artworks of the past and present.[3] Of particular interest to Gérard were the genre scenes of the Dutch Golden Age which she would emulate in her own work. Her association with Fragonard's circle also allowed Gérard the freedom to remain unmarried without becoming a financial burden to herself or her parents; this allowed her to devote herself to art.[4] Speculation that Gérard and Fragonard were lovers has been thoroughly disproved, and Gérard referred to the older artist as a father figure.[3]


Marguerite Gérard began her work as an artist in the 1770s while living in Paris. Her earliest compositions are etchings and engravings, while her later and more renowned works are oil paintings.[5] Her artwork depicts scenes in everyday life, known as genre painting. Her works were exhibited regularly in Parisian Salons beginning in the 1790s.[6]


Gérard became interested in art while living with her sister, Marie-Anne Fragonard, and brother-in-law, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, in Paris. She became an unofficial apprentice of Jean-Honoré Fragonard, working in collaboration with him to create her first pieces of work.[5] Fragonard, a Rococo artist, often painted genre scenes. Gérard started her career by etching and engraving copies of Fragonard's paintings; soon after, she began to create her own genre paintings.[5] The depiction of everyday life in the artwork closely resembles the style of Gerard Ter Borch and Gabriel Metsu, Dutch artists from the seventeenth century.[5]


As a genre artist, Gérard focused on portraying scenes of intimate domestic life. Many of her paintings illustrate the experiences of motherhood and childhood within the home.




  1. ^ a b Sardou, J. B. (1865). Inventaire sommaire des Archives communales antérieures à 1790, ville de Grasse. Paul Dupont. p. 11. Retrieved 12 May 2009. Acte de naissance de mademoiselle Marguerite Gérard, peintre, décédée en 1832, le 1er janvier : « Le 28 janvier 1761, est née et a été baptisée Marguerite Gérard, fille du sieur Claude Gillette Gérard, marchand parfumeur, et de dame Marie, son épouse; le parrain a été Honoré Isnard, négociant, la marraine demoiselle Marguerite Gazagnaire, son épouse » .
    Note that contrary to all other sources, the given death date is 1 January 1832, not 18 May 1837.
  2. ^ Rena M. Hoisington and Perrin Stein, "Sous les yeux de Fragonard: The Prints of Marguerite Gérard," Print Quarterly, XXIX, no. 2, 2012, pp. 142-162.
  3. ^ a b Robertson, Sarah Wells. "Gérard, Marguerite". Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  4. ^ Nochlin, Linda; Harris, Ann Sutherland (1977). Women Artists 1550-1950 (1st ed.). Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art. p. 197. ISBN 9780394733265. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Royalists to Romantics: Spotlight on Marguerite Gérard". Broad Strokes: The National Museum of Women in the Arts' Blog. 2012-04-03. Retrieved 2017-03-17. 
  6. ^ "Marguerite Gérard | National Museum of Women in the Arts". Retrieved 2017-03-17. 


External links[edit]