Head of a Young Woman

Object Details


Head of a Young Woman


Adélaïde Labille-Guiard (French, 1749 - 1803)






Pastel on paper


54.6 x 44.5 cm (21 1/2 x 17 1/2 in.)

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A young woman, reclining on a pillow, turns toward a presumed visitor; her wide-eyed gaze, one of delight and anticipation. As she turns, her white gown falls away, revealing her upper torso. A soft light bathes her flushed cheeks and sparkling eyes and also highlights the glossy sheen of her hair cascading down her left shoulder.

Adélaïde Labille-Guiard used the delicacy of the pastel medium to capture the sitter's eroticism. Rather than depicting a specific individual, Labille-Guiard created this imaginary portrait to convey a moment of sensual awakening. This type of fanciful portrait became popular in France in the mid-1700s.

- 1883

Private Collection [sold, Hôtel Drouot, Chevallier, Paris, December 15, 1883.]

- 1898

Paul Eudel, 1837 - 1912 (Paris, France) [sold, Eudel sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, May 9-12, 1898, lot 18.]

by 1901 -

Mme. Albert Laniel (Paris, France), by inheritance to Joseph Laniel.

by 1973 -

Joseph Laniel (Paris, France)

Private Collection

- 1996

Wildenstein & Company (New York, New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1996.