The Nationalmuseum in Stockholm Purchases a Pastel by Vigée-Lebrun

17/11/12 - Acquisition - Stockholm, Nationalmuseum - During the SVV Daguerre auction at the Hôtel Drouot on 16 November, where the Louvre pre-empted a canvas by Hubert Robert (see preceding news item), the Swedish museum acquired a small pastel by Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, for 15,000€, representing in all likelihood [1] a portrait of her only child, Jeanne Julie Louise (ill. 1). The girl, born on 12 February 1780, is shown here (according to the inscribed date) on 6 January 1782. She was thus less than two years old. We find her in several of the artist’s works, notably in the double portrait at the Louvre but also in a painting (ill. 2) residing in the collection of Michel David-Weill where she is holding a mirror in which she is reflected (see here).

1. Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun (1755-1842)
Presumed Portrait of Jeanne Julie Louise Lebrun, 1782
Pastel (Paper Mounted on Canvas) - 29.5 x 24 cm
Stockholm, Nationalmuseum
Photo : SVV Daguerre

2. Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun (1755-1842)
Portrait of Jeanne Julie Louise Lebrun, 1787
Oil on Canvas (or Panel ?) - 73 x 60.3 cm
Michel David Weill’s Collection
Photo : D. R.

Although Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun preferred to use oil for her portraits, those in pastel are not as rare as indicated in the catalogue entry. For more information, readers can look at the Dictionnaire des pastellistes by Neil Jeffares which we point out is entirely available online and fully illustrated.
In it we discover a much more unfamiliar aspect of the artist’s work : her landscape pastels, only ten in number.

Version française

Didier Rykner, mercredi 21 novembre 2012


[1] The work bears an inscription reading : "Louise Lebrun pinx. 6 janvier 1782".

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