Marie Joséphine Charlotte du Val d'Ognes1801 by Marie-Denise Villers

At one time ascribed to Jacques Louis David, this engaging image has most recently been identified as the work of Marie Denise Villers. Although little known today, Villers was a gifted pupil of Anne Louis Girodet-Trioson and exhibited in the Salons, where her portraits attracted attention.

...The picture first appeared in the late 19th century, and later it was sold by a member of the same family in which it had descended as a portrait of Mademoiselle Charlotte du Val d’Ognes (died 1868) by Jacques Louis David. In 1951 the French scholar and curator Charles Sterling was preparing the catalogues of French old master and 19th-century paintings that would be published beginning in 1955. He did not believe in the attribution to David.... While there has always been some eagerness to identify the painter of this popular picture, by 1980 the Museum no longer claimed to know the artist nor with any certainty the sitter...
Click to select the cover image for this artwork.
Media: oil on canvas
Location: Metropolitan Museum of Art , New York