Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun was the most important female painter of her day. Naturally gifted and self-taught, by 1778 she had become the portraitist of Queen Marie Antoinette, and by 1783 had been accepted into the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture — one of few women accorded this honour. Later fleeing Revolutionary France, she made her way to the great capitals of Europe, where her reputation continued to grow. The exhibition features around 90 works — many on loan from institutions such as the Louvre, the Château de Versailles, and the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg — including some of the famous self-portraits the artist used as promotional tools. Other paintings will be exhibited for the first time. Exploring the life and work of a woman who was not only extraordinarily talented, but also publicity-savvy, this must-see exhibition demonstrates both Vigée Le Brun’s immense talent and her extraordinary ability to carve out a significant career in a man’s world.
The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and Réunion des musée nationaux–Grand Palais, Paris.
With the generous support of the Musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon.
Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, Marie Antoinette with a Rose, 1783, oil on canvas, 116.8 × 88.9 cm. Collection of Lynda and Stewart Resnick