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Part of European Paintings
Marie Denise Villers (French, Paris 1774–1821 Paris (?))
Date: 1801Accession Number: 17.120.204
Joseph Siffred Duplessis (French, Carpentras 1725–1802 Versailles)
Date: 1778Accession Number: 32.100.132
Jean-Baptiste Greuze (French, Tournus 1725–1805 Paris)
Date: 1763Accession Number: 66.28.1
Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (French, Paris 1755–1842 Paris)
Date: 1787Accession Number: 49.7.53
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The pictures in this gallery illustrate the extraordinary level of naturalism and finesse achieved by French portrait painters in the closing decades of the eighteenth century. This was the moment when the Académie Royale began readmitting women, although their numbers were severely restricted and they were still barred from drawing the nude male model, a critical element of academic training. Many women began their careers as miniaturists—from which full-scale portraiture follows naturally—and most, though not all, worked primarily as portraitists. Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun and Adélaïde Labille-Guiard were received into the academy in 1783 and were thus eligible to exhibit at the Salon that year. Marie Victoire Lemoine's homage to women painters was shown at the Salon of 1796.
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