Adélaïde Labille-Guiard ( 1749–1803): Self-Portrait with

Adélaïde Labille-Guiard ( 1749–1803): Self-Portrait with

3/20/2021, 5:09:32 PM
Adélaïde Labille-Guiard ( 1749–1803): Self-Portrait with Two Pupils, Marie Gabrielle Capet (1761–1818) and Marie Marguerite Carreaux de Rosemond (died 1788), 1785, Oil on canvas, 210.8 x 151.1 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City Labille-Guiard’s 'Self-portrait with Her Students' is one of the most remarkable images of women’s art education in early modern Europe. In 1783, when Labille-Guiard and Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun were admitted to the Académie Royale, the number of women artists eligible for membership was limited to four. This canvas, shown with great success at the Salon of 1785, has been interpreted as a means of advocating their cause. Labille-Guiard was not ambitious for a society clientele. She was instead politically motivated and devoted herself to the teaching and advancement of women artists, seeking equal rights for them at the Académie. She stayed in France throughout the Revolution and secured commissions from several of its leading figures. A contemporary critic called the present painting not only her most beautiful portrait, but one of the finest paintings at the Salon that year. She depicts herself at work in her atelier, palette in hand, box of paints to her right, a porte-crayon and a scroll of paper or canvas on the stool in the foreground. Her beautiful dress and beribboned straw hat are rich in color and complex in execution; she describes the reflection of the blue fabric in the parquet at her feet. Likewise, the inclusion of her pupils offers Labille-Guiard the opportunity to wrestle with the complexities of composition. Their relationship and the fall of light over their faces show her skill as a painter. (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

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