élisabeth vigée le brun (1755-1842): At seven or eight, I remember, I made a picture by lamplight of a man with a beard, which I have kept until this very day. When my father saw it he went into transports of joy, exclaiming, “You will be a painter, child, if ever there was one!”
Born in Paris in 1755, Madame Lebrun became a member of the Académie de Saint Luc aged nineteen. She is famed for her numerous portraits of Marie Antoinette and the French royal family, including the infamous ’La reine en gaulle’ portrait in 1783. After the French Revolution she worked in Italy, Austria and Russia painting nobility and royalty.
A small sample of Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun’s beautiful portraits in the “Woman Artist in Revolutionary France” exhibit at the MET. The portraits here include those of Marie Antoinette, Yolande de Polastron, the Duchess of Polignac, Marie Therese Charlotte of France and
Louis Joseph, Vigée Le Brun herself, and her daughter,
Jeanne Julie Louise le Brun.