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Attributed to circle of Vigée-LeBrun, Elisabeth Louise (French painter, 1755-1842) , Self-Portrait

Core Record

Title Self-Portrait
Alternative Title Portrait of a Woman
Collection National Trust for Scotland (Fyvie Castle)
Artist Attributed to circle of Vigée-LeBrun, Elisabeth Louise (French painter, 1755-1842)
Previously attributed to Vigée-LeBrun, Elisabeth Louise (French painter, 1755-1842)
Date Earliest probably about 1780
Date Latest probably 1842
Description This copy of a possible self-portrait shows the sitter as being highly fashionable, with un-powdered hair and a loose-fitting dress. She leans on a pile of letters on top of a roll-top writing desk, as if she has been interrupted while reading.

Vigée-Lebrun (1755-1842) was one of the most successful female artists in France. A friend of Marie-Antoinette, whom she painted many times, Vigée-Lebrun was accepted into the French Royal Academy in 1783. Her portraits captured the look of the pre-Revolutionary French nobility. She fled France at the Revolution and continued painting at various courts throughout Europe.

Current Accession Number Pending
Subject portrait (Vigée-Lebrun, Elisabeth Louise)
Measurements 102 x 81 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Purchased from the Forbes-Leith family 1984.
Provenance By descent in the Gordon and later Forbes-Leith families.
Principal Exhibitions Treasures of Fyvie, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, Jul 1985 - Sept 1985, cat. no. 21.
Publications Treasures of Fyvie, Edinburgh, 1985, cat. no. 21, p. 50.
Notes Although thought to be a self-portrait, this painting is more likely to be of a different sitter, as it is unlike any of the extant self-portraits by Vigée-Lebrun. A possible candidate for sitter is the Comtesse de Bystry, a Polish noblewoman who sat to Vigée-Lebrun twice (both paintings in private collections), and whose physiognomy appears to match the sitter in the Fyvie portrait. The sitter's dress and shawl, and the pose of her left arm, can also be seen in an autograph Vigée-Lebrun portrait of the Duchess of Polignac (Wadsworth Atheneum, Connecticut). The frame label states the painting is a self-portrait, and it was exhibited as such, and as an autograph Vigée-Lebrun in the above exhibition.
Rights Owner National Trust for Scotland
Author David Taylor



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