Louise Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun

France / 1755 - 1842 / wikipedia / nmwa.org / batguano.com
Same as Marie-Louise-Élisabeth Vigée

... There were years, of course, when no one spoke of her, when no one thought to pull her paintings out of the storage racks, to brush off the dust that had settled thickly over her reputation. But who could be fooled into thinking she was gone?

Who was Elisabeth Louise Vigée Lebrun? If you had lived in the 18th century, you’d already know. Her life was nearly unbelievable. The oldest child of a minor portrait painter, she was born in Paris in 1755, and was already producing Salon-quality portraits by the time she was in her teens. She was summoned to Versailles by Marie Antoinette before she was 30, and her portraits of the Queen assured her success among the fashionable people of Paris. Virtually overnight, she became the favored painter of the beau monde, and her work was showered with accolades....

With the outbreak of the French Revolution, the artist’s fortunes only improved.... As Paris burned and her aristocrat-friends languished in prison, she hopped about the capitals of Europe attending grand balls, befriending monarchs, and enhancing her reputation as one of the leading portraitists of her age.

....It is not unusual in the history of art to hear of a painter whose work, at first, was cordially received, or perhaps even highly acclaimed, but then, as the years went by and new styles proliferated, the reputation faded. Such was the case with Vigée Lebrun, and the reason is hardly a mystery. Simply put, she was not a great artist.

....Eventually, Lebrun became known as a mindless flatterer—and nothing written about her career confirmed this stereotype more than the artist’s own Souvenirs. In 1834... (https://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/The-drama-of-Madame-Lebrun-5858)

Vigee-Lebrun painted more than 800 portraits during her lifetime. She died in 1842 a year after a debilitating stroke. (http://www.sptimes.com/2007/05/13/Features/A_mother_s_work.shtml)
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Christopher Foster


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