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Vigee Le Brun cover

Vigée Le Brun

Baillio, Joseph, Katharine Baetjer, and Paul Lang with contributions by Ekaterina Deryabina, Gwenola Firmin, Stéphane Guégan, Anabelle Kienle Poňka, Xavier Salmon, Anna Sulimova
288 pages
166 illustrations
Gold Winner in Women’s Studies Category, Foreword Reviews' Book of the Year Award (2016)
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Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (1755–1842) was one of the finest eighteenth-century French painters and among the most important women artists of all time. Celebrated for her expressive portraits of French royalty and aristocracy, and especially of her patron Marie Antoinette, Vigée Le Brun exemplified success and resourcefulness in an age when women were rarely allowed either. Because of her close association with the queen Vigée Le Brun was forced to flee France during the French Revolution. For twelve years she traveled throughout Europe, painting noble sitters in the courts of Naples, Russia, Austria, and Prussia. She returned to France in 1802, under the reign of Emperor Napoleon I, where her creativity continued unabated.

This handsome volume details Vigée Le Brun's story, portraying a talented artist who nimbly negotiated a shifting political and geographic landscape. Essays by international scholars address the ease with which this self-taught artist worked with monarchs, the nobility, court officials and luminaries of arts and letters, many of whom attended her famous salons. The position of women artists in Europe and at the Salons of the period is also explored, as are the challenges faced by Vigée Le Brun during her exile.

The ninety paintings and pastels included in this volume attest to Vigée Le Brun's superb sense of color and expression. They include exquisite depictions of counts and countesses, princes and princesses alongside mothers and children, including the artist herself and her beloved daughter, Julie. A chronology of the life of Vigée Le Brun and a map of her travels accompany the text, elucidating the peregrinations of this remarkable, independent painter.

Self-Portrait with Two Pupils, Marie Gabrielle Capet (1761–1818) and Marie Marguerite Carraux de Rosemond (1765–1788), Adélaïde Labille-Guiard  French, Oil on canvas
Adélaïde Labille-Guiard
Madame Grand (Noël Catherine Vorlée, 1761–1835), Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun  French, Oil on canvas
Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun
Alexandre Charles Emmanuel de Crussol-Florensac (1743–1815), Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun  French, Oil on wood
Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun
Comtesse de la Châtre (Marie Charlotte Louise Perrette Aglaé Bontemps, 1762–1848), Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun  French, Oil on canvas
Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun
Winter, Jean Antoine Houdon  French, Bronze, French, Paris
Jean Antoine Houdon

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Baillio, Joseph, Katharine Baetjer, and Paul Lang. 2016. Vigée Le Brun: Exhibition, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, February 15 - May 15, 2016 ; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, June 10 - September 11, 2016. New York: The Metropolitan museum of art.