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Louise Vigée Le Brun

1755 - 1842

Place Born

Paris

Place Died

Paris

Bio

As a devoted Monarchist and friend of the Queen, Vigee chose exile during the revolution, first taking up residence (as was her right as an Academician) in the Villa Medici, the home of the French Academy in Rome. Able at least to earn her living, unlike so many of the French emigres who were forced to rely on the charity of friends and relations, she continued her successful career as a society portraitist, albeit not confining herself to French sitters.

Joseph Baillio, in the catalogue of the Vigee exhibition held at Fort Worth and in several articles, has remarked on the influence of Rubens on Mme Vigee Lebrun and the direct connection here with the portrait of the artist’s wife, Helene Fourment in a Fur Coat (Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum) is immediately apparent. However, as Baillio has pointed out, Vigee could not have seen the painting in person and must have known it either from a print or copy. This is by no means the only one of Vigee’s portraits that looks to Rubens but, in its informality and the immediately engaging attitude of the sitter, it is the furthest from the usual conventions of French portraiture. While emphasizing and sometimes idealizing her female sitters most attractive features was one of her particular accomplishments, we know from contemporary descriptions of Mlle Roland’s charms that in this portrait the artist has not succumbed to any pressure to unduly flatter her subject. It may be noted that the artist apparently originally intended the portrait to be made in an oval form but, while painting, changed her mind and extended it over the whole canvas. The more open composition serves to emphasize the drama of the figure, standing, like several other Vigee portraits (notably the Portrait of the Duchess of Caderousse, in Kansas City, Portrait of a Woman, Boston, Museum of Fine Arts and Portrait of Mme Mole Raymond, Paris, Louvre), against a rich blue sky with a hint of a setting sun.

Art Works Sold

Portrait of Hyacinthe Gabrielle Roland, Countess of Mornington

Sold or not Available
Historical Period: 1780-1820 Neoclassicism
Portrait of Hyacinthe Gabrielle Roland, Countess of Mornington
The Duchess of Caderousse

Sold or not Available
Historical Period: 1780-1820 Neoclassicism
The Duchess of Caderousse