One of the first homes built "outside the city walls" at the end of the seventeenth century was certainly Villa Fragonard.
A large and austere Provencal house, beautiful in its proportions, pleasantly surrounded by a terraced garden and vegetable growing terraces, dominated by the Charité hospital built in 1698, it saw a succession of old Provencal families live within its walls: firstly that of Lady Rogon for whom it was built, then the Villeneuve Esclapons and the Durands from Sartoux before finally being bought by a rich perfumery merchant, Alexandre Maubert, whose family would remain there.
Alexandre Maubert, a native of Grasse, a cultured man and musician, is a perfect representative of the Enlightenment. In 1790 he welcomed his cousin Jean-Honoré Fragonard as political events and poor health forced him to leave the capital.
Fragonard arrived at his cousin's house with no possessions. Indeed, he brought with him four rolled panels showing the Progress of Love in the heart of a young girl, ordered by Madame Du Barry to decorate the pavilion that had been offered to her by Louis XV in Louveciennes, which she refused.
The painter was well-compensated and kept these works in his studio for 20 years. The panels came to Grasse in January 1790 and the tradition is that Fragonard hung them in his cousin's living room himself. For the sections of the walls remaining empty, Alexandre Maubert ordered the rest of the story from the painter.
They all remained in place until 1896, when Louis Malvillan, grandson of Alexandre Maubert, sold them but not without having a copy made by an excellent Lyon painter Auguste de La Brély. The originals, now known as the Fragonards from Grasse, have been exhibited in the Frick Collection in New York since 1915.
Also, is it natural that, when the house was put up for sale in 1977, the City of Grasse bought it and decided to devote three rooms on the first floor to the exhibition of works by Jean-Honoré Fragonard and painters from his family, his son Alexander, his grandson Theophilus, his sister-in-law Marguerite Gérard and his great-grandson Antonin.
A section is also dedicated to the memory of Jean-Honoré Fragonard remembered, among others, through sculpture, a bust by Gustave Deloye, and by moving memories such as the painter's chair and his box of colours.