Saturday, July 14, 2012

Women Artists & The French Revolution - Self Portraits by Adelaide Labille-Guiard 1749-1803

. Adelaide Labille-Guiard (French Neoclassical Painter, 1749-1803) Self Portrait

Adelaide Labille-Guiard (1749-1803), one of 8 children of a haberdasher, was born in Paris. During adolescence, she studied miniature painting with Swiss miniaturist François-Elie Vincent, a family friend. She later studied pastels and portraiture with Maurice-Quentin de la Tour. At the age of 20, she married a financial clerk named Louis-Nicolas Guiard, but the marriage wasn't successful one. In 1779, Adelaide was granted a legal separation from her already estranged husband. After a later reformation of divorce laws, Adelaide was finally able to marry the artist son of her former teacher, François André Vincent, whom she lived happily with until her death.

Adelaide Labille-Guiard (French Neoclassical Painter, 1749-1803) Self Portrait detail

Because of the Vincent family's connections, her works were exhibited at the Académie de Saint-Luc until 1777, when it closed. In May of 1783, Labille-Guiard was accepted as a member of the French Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture. Three other women, including Élisabeth-Louise Vigée-Lebrun, were admitted as members on the same day, despite some consternation on the part of some of the male members.

Adelaide Labille-Guiard (French Neoclassical Painter, 1749-1803) Self Portrait With Two Pupils 1785

Unlike Lebrun, Labille Guillard's subjects included both the members of the aristocracy as well as revolutionary figures. Her royal commissions made Labille-Guiard politically suspect after the French Revolution of 1789. In the early 1790s, she campaigned for the Academy to be opened up to the general admission of women. At the Salon of 1791, she exhibited portraits of members of the National Assembly, including Maximilien Robespierre and Armand, duc d'Aiguillon. However, in 1793 she was ordered to destroy some of her royalist paintings, including the unfinished commission for the Count of Provence. She died 10 years later.

Adelaide Labille-Guiard (French Neoclassical Painter, 1749-1803) Self Portrait 1774
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