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Elisabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun

April 16, 1755 - March 30, 1842


French artist Elisabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun was considered one of the great portrait artists of her day. Throughout her lifetime, she created over 660 portraits and 200 landscapes. Her works are owned by major museums including the Louvre, National Gallery in Washington D.C., Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in addition to many other museums. Vigée-LeBrun was born into relatively modest circumstances but worked her way into society’s upper crust and eventually became a royal portrait painter. In her teenage years, she was painting professionally and mastered her craft in the workshops of various artists such as Blaise Bocquet, Pierre Davesne, and Gabriel Briard. She eventually developed a highly sophisticated and personal technique painting in the Rococo and Neoclassicism style. Soon after, she was an elected member of the Académie. As her career advanced, she was granted patronage by Marie Antoinette and painted over 30 portraits of the queen and her family. After the arrest of the royal family in the French Revolution, Vigée-LeBrun fled to Italy with her daughter. During her exile she was commissioned to create portraits of celebrated residents of Rome, Vienna, St. Petersburg, and Moscow. After returning to France in 1809, she continued painting, held Salons, and published a three volume memoir between 1835 and 1837.

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