OIL PAINTING: The Love Letter, c.1770-1780
The Love Letter exemplifies Fragonard's feeling for colour, his sensitive handling of effects of light, and his extraordinary technical facility. The elegant blue dress, lace cap, and coiffure of the woman seated at her writing table must have been the height of fashion at the time this painting was made. The inscription on the letter she holds has given rise to different interpretations. It may simply refer to her cavalier, but if it is read Cuvillere, then the sitter would be the daughter of Francois Boucher, Fragonard's teacher. Marie Emilie Boucher, born in 1740, was widowed in 1769 and married, in 1773, her father's friend, the architect Charles Etienne Gabriel Cuvillier.