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Wednesday 18 January 2023

Jean François Janinet’s colour aquatint, “La Folie”, 1777, after Fragonard

Jean François Janinet (1752–1814)

“La Folie” (aka “The Madness”; “Joy”; “Debauchery”), 1777, colour aquatint—an innovative process perfected by Janinet—after Jean Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806), published in Paris by Le Père & Avaulez (fl. 1772–1779)—initially a partnership between Charles Le Père and Pierre Michel Avaulez (1772–1777), but at the time of the printing of this colour aquatint, the printery was passed on to Avaulez's widow (1777–1779). The Rijksmuseum advises that this print was created as an illustration for the “Journal de Paris” magazine, November 24, 1777 (see RP-P-1984-159).

Colour aquatint and etching with roulette work on heavy laid paper trimmed around (or slightly within) the platemark.

Size: (sheet) 28.2 x 20.1 cm; (oval image borderline) 21.2 x 18.1 cm.

State ii (of ii) Lifetime impression (based on the quality of the aquatint showing no sign of wear to the printing plate).

Lettered in plate below the image borderline: (left) “Fragonard pinx”; (centre) “LA FOLIE/ A Paris chez l’Auteur place Maubert Maison neuve au 1er. et chez la veuve Avaulez rue St. Jacques à la Ville de Rouen.”; (right) F. Janinet Sculp.”

IFF 34 (“Inventaire du fonds français : graveurs du dix-huitième siècle”, vol. 12, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, p. 22, cat. no. 34.II).

The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print: (transl.) “A putto jumping in the air, in his left hand a jester's stick, with his right hand he scatters bubbles. Four pairs of pigeons around him” (

See also the descriptions of this print offered by the British Museum, the National Gallery of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art:;;

Condition: a strong and well-printed lifetime impression with glowing colour, trimmed following the platemark (or slightly within) in good condition. Beyond a dot stain at lower left and pale age toning (darkening) along the edges, the sheet is in a very good condition for its age with no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, significant stains or foxing.

I am selling this very rare colour aquatint exemplifying the remarkable printing technique developed by Jean François Janinet involving the superimposition of multiple printing plates of different colours—see the variation of colour in the impression of this same print offered by Proantic (—for AU$438 (currently US$307.52/EUR284.02/GBP248.64 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world, but not (of course) any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries.

If you are interested in purchasing this amazing masterwork of early colour printing, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

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