madame capet


Women History Month:

Adélaïde Labille-Guiard (11 April 1749 – 24 April 1803)

The first instructions in art of Adelaïde are unknown (because masters only could take male apprentices at the time) but we know that as a teenager she studied miniature painting with François-Elie Vincent and later in 1769 apprenticed pastel with Quentin de la Tour.

When she was 20 years old she married Nicolas Guiard and was also accepted in the Académie de Saint-Luc by her previous teacher François-Elie Vincent with a miniature now lost. The Académie de Saint-Luc had 130 female members by 1770 and through it these women were able to practice art professionally. Her first exhibition was in 1774 and her work was compared with that of Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun (who was also a member of the Académie de Saint-Luc) and nowadays the works of both are considered of equal quality and value.

The success of this exhibition made the Royal Academy forbid any other community of arts and crafts and the Académie de Saint-Luc closed in 1777, the same year that Adelaïde separated from her husband Nicolas Guiard. She began to learn oil painting from Françoise-André Vincent (son of her old teacher and childhood friend) since the Académie Royale required at lest one oil painting for admission. Françios-André was a memeber of the Académie Royale and he referred some of his friends to Adelaïde’s oils and (especially) pastels that had become famous and very accepted. On 31 May 1783 Adelaïde and Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun were accepted as members of the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture. 

Adelaïde gained the patronage of princess Marie-Adelaïde (aunt of Louis XVI) and she made portraits of her, her sister and Elisabeth the king’s sister and his brother. One of her largest and most ambitious works is the pastel portrait of Marie-Adelaïde (look at it on top! It’s awesome!). She was never quite a conservative, so after the revolution she was made to destroy some of her royalist works but she campaigned for the Académie to be reopened to women and in 1791 she even exhibited portraits of the Duc D’Aiguillon and Robespiere (look at him, isn’t he cute?).

Finally in 1793 she and Guiard were divorced but she kept his last name and in 1799 she married François-André Vincent (take a look at his portrait and those puppy-love eyes <3). She died only 3 years after on 24 April 1803.

Photos from top:

  • Self-Portrait with two pupils (Marie-Gabrielle Capet and Marie Marguerite Carreaux de Rosemond), Adelaïde Labille-Guiard, 1785, Oil on canvas.
  • Portrait of François-Andre Vincent, Adelaïde Labille-Guiard, ca. 1783, pastel on paper.
  • Marie Adélaïde de France, Known as Madame Adélaïde, Adelaïde Labille-Guiard, ca. 1786-87, Pastel on blue paper.
  • The time in the Atelier of Madame Vincent around 1800, Marie-Gabrielle Capet, 1808, Oil on canvas.
  • Portrait of Maximilien Robespierre, Pierre Roch Vigneron (after the pastel portrait by Adelaïde Labille-Guiard), 1786, Oil on canvas.
  • Portrait of Charles-Amédée-Philippe van Loo, Adelaïde Labille-Guiard, 1785, Oil on canvas.
  • Portrait of the Comedian Tournelle, called Dublin, Adelaïde Labille-Guiard, 1799, Oil on canvas.

A selection of actresses to play Marie Antoinette on stage:

Marin Ireland (Marie Antoinette, David Adjmi)

Adelaide Ristori (Marie Antoinette, Paolo Giacometti)

Cree Carrico (The Ghosts of Versailles, John Corigliano)

Saotome Wakaba (Jean-Louis Fargeon: The Queen’s Perfumer, Ueda Keiko)

Eva Le Gallienne (Madame Capet, Marcelle Maurette)

Roberta Valentini (Marie Antoinette: Das Musical, Michael Kunze)

Daichi Mao (Marie Antoinette, Saito Masafumi)

Ellen Adair (Marie Antoinette: The Color of Flesh, Joel Gross)