Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le BrunÉlisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun
French Painter
1755 – 1842 A.D.

Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, a French painter. Her Father, M. Vigé, was a painter, and her step-father was a goldsmith, who exhibited in his shop her earliest portrait, which attracted much attention.

She was patronized by Marie Antoinette, and was a favorite in fashionable society. She was admitted to the academy of painting, from which females were subsequently excluded.

Her married in 1775 with Jean Baptiste Lebrun, the art critic and amateur, was not a happy one, and they lived most of the time apart.

In 1789 she went to Italy,  where she was received with great distinction, and painted a remarkable portrait of Lady Hamilton in the character of a bacchante. While in London (1802 – 1805) she painted portraits of the Prince of Wales and of Lord Byron.

She was in Switzerland in 1808 – 1809, and painted Mme. de Staël as Corrine, one of her best portraits.

Notwithstanding many disappointments and reverses, she retained her artistic and social prominence to extreme age, and in her eightieth year executed a portrait of her niece, which showed no decline in power.

She wrote Souvenirs de Mme. L. E. Vigé-Lebrun (three volumes, Paris 1835 – 1837), which contains lists of more than 650 portraits, 200 Swiss and English landscapes and 15 other pictures.


Reference: Famous Women; An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman. Copyright, 1926 by Ellis M. Lonow Company.