Mar 9, 2013

Artist of the Month

Adélaïde Labille-Guiard
French miniaturist and portrait painter.

Master of the Pastel

(11 April 1749 – 24 April 1803)

The youngest child of a Parisian merchant, Labille-Guiard trained with her childhood friend, François-André Vincent. She made her own studio in the early 1780s and established royal and aristocratic patrons for her pastels, oil paintings, and miniatures. By 1783, she had taken on teaching nine women students.

Many professional women painters came from families of artists or artisans, but Labille-Guiard was the daughter of a shopkeeper. Jeanne Bécu, the future Madame du Barry, worked in this very shop around the age of eighteen, and would eventually become good friends with Labille-Guiard

In building a successful career as a portraitist, Adélaïde Labille-Guiard had to overcome an unwelcoming male-dominated art world.

Unlike aspiring male artists, who could prove their mettle in the Academy’s schools, Labille-Guiard and other women had little choice but to climb the ranks of the art world by participating in exhibitions that operated at the margins of official sanction

Though Labille-Guiard became a master at miniatures, pastels, and oil paintings, little is known about her training. Much of this lack of information is due to the practices of the time, which dictated that masters (who were predominantly male) should not take on female pupils, as society perceived that they would not be able to follow instruction alongside men.

The portrait of Adélaïde, exhibited in 1787, was Labille-Guiard's largest and most ambitious work to that date.

In 1788 she was commissioned by the king's brother, the Count of Provence (later Louis XVIII of France), to paint him at the centre of a large historical work, Réception d'un chevalier de Saint-Lazare par Monsieur, Grand maître de l'ordre.

Labille-Guiard's early masterpiece Self-portrait with two pupils, exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1785

 Woman artist
Private collection, oil on canvas, 73 x 59 cm
Portrait of an Artist seated, half-lenght, holding a stylus, wearing a blue silk gown with coral sleeves and trimmings.

Sold at Christie, New York, in 1995

Adelaide Labille-Guiard. Portrait of Madame de Genlis

 Countess Selve in 1787

 Portrait of Mme Marie Gabrielle Capet

Portrait of a young woman, 1780
pastel, 622 x 510 mm

Madame Roland

Madame Adelaide de France, 1787

Versailles Museum, oil on canvas, 271 x 194 cm

Self-portrait, 1782

Pastel, 28 1/4" x 23 1/2" 

Self-portrait of Miniaturist, 1775 circa


Pintora Adelaide Labille-Guiard, París, Francia, 1749-1803.

Adelaide de France, 1787
Versailles, pastel on blue paper, 73 x 58,8 cm

Madame Adelaide, Louis XVI's aunt.

Louise Elisabeth de France

Marie-Gabrielle Capet (French artist, 1761-1818) Atelier of Madame Vincent (Adelaide Labille-Guiard) 1808


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