Adélaïde Labille-Guiard (1749-1803), a remarkable portraitist, was among the small number of women ever granted membership in the French Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture. Her work was sought out by such diverse figures as the aunts of Louis XVI and the future American president Thomas Jefferson. Yet, unlike her contemporary and fellow Academy member, Élisabeth-Louise Vigïe-Lebrun, Labille-Guiard remained in France during the Revolution and participated in the reinvention of the country, its art, and its women. Tracing the fascinating story of her rise and fall in the context of her tumultuous times, Laura Auricchio fills major gaps in the scholarship on art during the French Revolution, on women artists, and particularly on the intriguing figure of Labille-Guiard herself. The artist is represented in the J. Paul Getty Museum by one of her finest works, the 1779 pastel Delightful Surprise; her paintings are held in a number of other important museums in America and Europe.
Laura Auricchio is assistant professor of art history at the School of Art and Design History and Theory, Parsons The New School for Design.
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