Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Easel

Date:
1810s
Culture:
French
Medium:
Mahogany, gilt bronze
Dimensions:
78 1/2 × 32 3/4 in. (199.4 × 83.2 cm)
Classification:
Woodwork-Furniture
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, 1972
Accession Number:
1972.284.17
Not on view
Tradition has it that Empress Marie-Louise presented this easel to her painting teacher, the miniaturist Jean-Baptiste Isabey. Constructed from mahogany, it bears the monogram of Napoleon’s last consort near the top. Easels were regularly found in the painter’s studio and often pictured in artists’ self-portraits, such as the Adélaïde Labille-Guiard’s 1785 painting with two pupils, also in the museum’s collection (53.255.5). Less commonly considered as pieces of domestic furniture, this Empire period example suggests that painting was practiced as a pastime among women of elite rank even after the fall of the Old Regime. This easel is similar to a model executed by Jacob Desmalter and owned by Marie-Louise, located today at the Château de Fontainebleau.
Inscription: Monogram: ML within a wreath (Empress Marie-Louise, Duchess of Parma)
Reputedly Empress Marie Louise of France ; Reputedly Eugène Isabey ; Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman , New York (until 1972; to MMA)
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