Overview

Madame Vigée Le Brun was part of the world she painted and, like her aristocratic patrons, was under threat of the guillotine after the revolution. She was forced to flee Paris in disguise in 1789. She had been first painter to Queen Marie–Antoinette and her personal confidant. The queen had intervened to ensure her election to the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, an honor accorded few women.

More than two–thirds of Vigée Le Brun's surviving paintings are portraits. Most, like this one, are of women and children who are idealized —flattered—into a kind of family resemblance. These unrelated young women, for example, could easily be mistaken for sisters. Their garments, airy silks and iridescent taffetas, are almost more individual than their faces, although both women were friends of the artist. The picture was hailed as a tribute to friendship and maternal love when it was shown at the Salon of 1787.

Inscription

null

Marks and Labels

null

Provenance

One of the sitters, Victurnienne Delphine Nathalie, marquise de Rougé [1759-1828, née Rochechouart Mortemart], Paris, Château de la Bellière, Château de Beaune-la-Rolande, and Château de Moreuil; by inheritance to her son, comte Adrien Gabriel Victurnien de Rougé [1782-1838], Château de Guyencourt, Cuyencourt-sur-Noye (Somme); by inheritance to his son, comte Armel-Jean-Victurnien de Rougé [1813-1898]; by inheritance to his son, Armel-Marie-Fernand de Rougé [b. 1847], Paris and Château de Saint-Symphorien-des-Monts (Manche), until at least 1914; by inheritance to his son, comte Jean de Rougé [1880-1960], Château de Saint-Symphorien; presumably to his nephew, Charles-Edouard de Cassagnes de Beaufort de Miramon-Pesteils [b. 1930]; purchased 1960 by (Wildenstein & Co., Inc., New York); purchased 24 June 1964 by the Bay Foundation, New York; gift 1964 to NGA.

Exhibition History

1787
Salon of 1787, Paris, no. 98.
1963
Style, Truth and the Portrait, The Cleveland Museum of Art, 1963, no. 67, repro.
1964
Accessions and Proposals, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, no. 10.
1976
The Eye of Thomas Jefferson, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1976, no. 261, repro.
1982
Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun 1755-1842, Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, 1982, no. 24, repro., as The Marquise de Pezay and the Marquise de Rougé With Her Sons.
2011
Female Creators: Women Artists from the Century of Madame Vigée Le Brun, Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, Tokyo, 2011, no. 64, repro.

Bibliography

1965
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 137
1966
Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds. A Pageant of Painting from the National Gallery of Art. 2 vols. New York, 1966: 2:326, color repro.
1968
European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 124, repro.
1975
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 366, repro.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 341, no. 463, color repro.
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 425, repro.
1997
Mitchell, Jerrine E. "Picturing Sisters: 1790 Portraits by J.L. David." Eighteenth-Century Studies 31, no. 2 (Winter 1997-1998): 194, fig. 14.
2000
Kirsh, Andrea, and Levenson, Rustin S. Seeing Through Paintings: Physical Examination in Art Historical Studies. Physical Examination in Art Historical Studies, vol. 1. New Haven, 2000: 8, under fig. 2.
2004
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 261, no. 213, color repro.
2005
The Arts of France from François Ier to Napoléon Ier. A Centennial Celebration of Wildenstein's Presence in New York. Exh. cat. Wildenstein & Co., Inc., New York, 2005: 61, fig. 67, 74 (not in the exhibition).
2009
Conisbee, Philip, et al. French Paintings of the Fifteenth through the Eighteenth Century. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 2009: no. 93, 436-442, color repro.

Conservation Notes

null

Related Works

Related Resources

  • Event Type
    Event Name
    March 1–June 1
    Mon, Tues, and Wed at 1:00
    March 5, 2012 at 2:00
    March 7, 2012 at 4:00
    East Building, Auditorium
    Name of docent
    image:
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum
    60 minutes
    Registration for this event begins on April 1, 2012 at noon.
    Download the program notes (100k)
  • Self-Guided Tour
    Italian Collection
    image:
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum