a swinging love triangle

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The Swing by Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1767)

good morning from bright and unusually cheery, sunny london. it’s been the kind of weather that forces one outside for hours and hours, strolling until you look at your watch and say, wow, it’s been 7 hours, where did the day go? it was that kind of day yesterday. with my travel companion under the weather i set out to get to know the city street by street and explore as much as possible. it was a magical day as always happens when you’re traveling, open to adventure and just and letting the universe guide you. it was filled with meeting shopkeepers, designers in their stores, gourmet noshes and stumbling on the most exquisite museum. it’s time to head out again so this will once again be short and sweet with just a quick share of the highlight of my day.

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i stumbled on ‘The Wallace Collection’ in Hertford House at Manchester Square in the center of London by accident when wandering aimlessly. the stately home had a welcoming sign on the east side of the building that beckoned me forward with an inviting finger pointing ahead with the words, “Free Admission” on a flag with Fragonard’s famous painting, ‘The Swing’ on it. how could i resist?

London, Manchester Square, Hertford House - vintage photo - now the Wallace Collection Museum

it’s a beautiful old mansion that now houses the wallace family’s collection of art that moved from paris to london many years ago. the museum is magnificent, each room a vibrant color from emerald to colbat, ruby and eggplant. the collection of art is extensive from armor to rembrant to one of my obessions, artist Jean-Honoré Fragonard a wonderful french artist from the 1700s.

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i’ve been obsessed with ‘the swing’ for years and even used it in my book, The Paris Apartment, and on my website. we cut just a piece of it for the site though…the part that embodies what i hoped my company could aspire to…the classical french fantasy of a beautiful, delicate and playful life. i found all of this captured in the moment the woman frolicking on the swing kicks off her shoe in mid-air while between two suitors, laughing while wearing the most beautiful pink dress on a perfect day.

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as i approached the image in real life i was surprised by its somewhat petite size, seen here in the center of the two larger images.

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but to be in her presence was incroyable! i took detail shots and observed all the movement, color and joie de vivre that had captivated  me for so long.

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the strangest thing though, was that what was framed was not the entire image. (look at the first image in this post and compare it to the one i shot on the wall). it’s a mystery i want to delve into but it will have to wait till i have a little more time to do some research.

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apparently it’s inspired a lot of artists, designers and film makers as well over the years. google image search even revealed one of miss piggy!

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there are hundreds of interpretations like this one made from chain, located in paris, found here

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Artist Philip Bradshaw

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and this one in sculpture: monster.net/2009/07/08/shonibare

the two ladies in the video below have a wonderful conversation and lots of insight about the painting and french life, but since i’m in such a rush (everyone’s feeling better to day and raring to go)! didn’t get to watch all of it. hope you enjoy it and if you’re in london be sure to visit this beautfiul collection!

June 30, 2015. art, Fragonard, Wallace Collection.

15 Comments

  1. Julia replied:

    Thank you so much for this beautiful post. I loved the film! I missed this gem of a museum on my visit to London last summer.

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  2. Karena Albert replied:

    Claudia an amazing painting by Fragonard and I love the video and variations on the theme!!
    What an amazing find Claudia!! The Fragonard painting and its interpretations are wonderful!!Thank you!!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena
    Galley Opening!!

    Like

  3. Nancy Flemming replied:

    Your vivid description of the joy of having a free day to explore on your own , and then the discovery of the museum with your favorite painting,( which DOES happen when you ‘let go’) was absolutely delicious! You reminded me, once again, why I follow you in your adventures. It is such fun to hear your deeply personal descriptions. I spend three weeks in France in September and am leaving 6 days between Paris and Mont St. Michel open for just such serendipity!
    Thank you for your vivid writing and appreciation of life’s unexpected gifts.
    Nancy Flemming

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  4. Violet Hoarder replied:

    Here’s to happy accidents. Definitely have to seek this museum out next time I’m in London. Thanks for finding it…

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  5. Maica replied:

    That painting is my childhood favorite. Thanks for sharing this post. :)

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  6. Nikon replied:

    I love the colors in the painting and the three dimensional look that it has.

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  7. fishhawk replied:

    “The Paris Apartment” has been included in our Sites To See #447. Be assured that we hope this helps to point many new visitors in your direction.

    http://asthecrackerheadcrumbles.blogspot.com/2015/07/sites-to-see-447.html

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  8. Henry Chamberlain replied:

    Wonderful post! I love Fragonard.

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  9. Arul replied:

    Nice painting, thank’s for sharing.

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  10. Doreen Creede replied:

    Ah, the pure romance. So lovely!

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  11. Jacqueline replied:

    I haven’t stopped by here in ages. Excited to see you’re in my city, and see as much art as you can, the collections are remarkable.

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  12. Raul Murray replied:

    I will definitely visit the museum during my next London visit. Colors in the painting was fabulous and it has also an attractive 3D look.

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  13. Jacqueline replied:

    I am getting married in London next year, I didn’t think to consider Hertford House as an option, it’s probably one of the most fantastic secrets off Oxford St.

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  14. christine95037 replied:

    Claudia –
    Not seen the painting. But the theatrical production, ‘Contact’, featured a dance called Swinging – more of an erotic acrobatic session and dance via the swing. I have not seen the play is around lately, but this ‘dance’ – one of many fantastic dance/stories – was very cool. You all maybe remember it by seeing another of the dances on tv The Girl in the Yellow Dress.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contact_%28musical%29

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  15. christine95037 replied:

    not seen in person is what i meant!

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