Adelaïde Labille-Guiard, woman artist of the French revolution

Adelaïde Labille-Guiard, Self-portrait with two pupils

Adelaïde Labille-Guiard, like her colleague Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, was a painter at the late eighteenth century royal court of France.

However, unlike Vigée-Lebrun, who was from the nobility, she was from a haberdasher’s family.

Unlike Vigée-Lebrun, she had conflicts with the monarchy, including over non-payment for her commissioned paintings.

She joined the prestigious arts’ Academy on 31 May 1783, the same day as Vigée-Lebrun.

She was the painters’ choice; Vigée-Lebrun was Queen Marie-Antoinette‘s choice.

These two joining meant the Academy now had an unprecedented ‘high’ number of four female members.

Shortly after this, it was decided that four were the maximum female membership.

When the French revolution broke out, contrary to Vigée-Lebrun, Labille-Guiard supported it.

Robespierre, portrait by Labille-Guiard

She made portraits of Robespierre and other revolutionary leaders.

Labille-Guiard put forward a motion abolishing restrictions on women’s membership of the Academy.

It was passed.

However, in 1793, the academy decided not to accept women members at all.

In 1795, Labille-Guiard and her pupils were given artists’ quarters at the Louvre, which had been the royal palace and would become a museum.

Jeanne-Louise Vallain, Jacobin woman painter: here.

Portrait painting in 1760-1830: here.

Between 1780 and 1810, many French women painters reached impressive heights of artistic achievement and professional success. Despite a cap on the number of women admitted to France’s prestigious Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, and restrictions that barred women from the life drawing classes attended by young men aspiring to paint historical narratives, women ranked among the most sought-after artists in Paris in the 1780s. Three of the Académie’s four female members—Adélaïde Labille-Guiard (1749–1803), Anne Vallayer-Coster (1744–1818), and Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (1755–1842)—regularly exhibited at the biennial Salons. Source: Eighteenth-Century Women Painters in France | Thematic Essay | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Marie Antoinette’s private getaway on the grounds of Versailles is finally getting a much-needed restoration, thanks to funding from the House of Dior. According to the Art Newspaper, the faux farming village known as “Hameau de la Reine” (or the “Queen’s Hamlet) was built without foundations, and the Queen’s House in particular is in terrible disrepair.

44 thoughts on “Adelaïde Labille-Guiard, woman artist of the French revolution

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