Active in: France
Adélaïde Labille-Guiard was born in Paris in 1749 and studied with François-Elie Vincent and Quentin La Tour. Although Labille-Guiard was admitted to the Academy in 1783 and made her debut at the Salon that year, it was at the Salon of 1785 that she captured the attention of the Mesdames Adélaïde and Victoire, the unmarried aunts of Louis XVI. Madame Adélaïde so admired Labille-Guiard’s Self-Portrait with Two Pupils that she offered to buy it for a generous sum; however, the artist refused.
When Madame Adélaïde learned that Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun had been commissioned to paint a portrait of Marie-Antoinette for the Salon of 1787, she commissioned portraits of herself, her sister, and their niece Madame Élisabeth from Labille-Guiard. These commissions reaffirmed the conservative values of the court of Louis XV in the context of the extravagance of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. In 1787, the catalogue published to accompany the opening of the official Salon identified the French painter Adélaïde Labille-Guiard as “premier Peintre des Mesdames,” or First Painter for Mesdames Adélaïde and Victoire.
Labille-Guiard was married to Nicolas Guiard in 1769, and, following their divorce, to her former teacher François-Elie Vincent in 1800. Following the overthrow of the French monarchy, Labille-Guiard remained in Paris, creating a new identity for herself as an artist whose work helped conceptualize the new French republic. She and other reform-minded moderates hoped for the establishment of a constitutional monarchy. At the Salon of 1791, Labille-Guiard exhibited pastel portraits of fourteen deputies to the National Assembly, including members of a group that opposed the Jacobins’ rejection of the monarchy. She retreated to the French countryside during the Reign of Terror, a time when many of her patrons were guillotined and a number of her most ambitious paintings were destroyed. She died in Paris in 1803.
Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, Portrait of Madame Adélaïde, ca. 1787. Oil on canvas, 273.7 × 187.3 cm. Speed Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Berry V. Stoll, restored by income from the Marguerite Montgomery Baquie Memorial Trust, 1993, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts, 1982.21
Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, A Fashionable Noblewoman Wearing a Plumed Hat, ca. 1789. Pastel on blue laid paper mounted on canvas, 55 x 46 cm. National Gallery of Art, 1999.92.1
Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, Portrait of Madame Charles Mitoire with Her Children, 1783. Pastel on three sheets of blue paper, mounted on canvas, 98.4 x 78.7 cm. The J. Paul Getty Museum
Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, Head of a Young Woman, 1779. Pastel on paper, mounted on canvas, 54.6 × 44.5 cm. The J. Paul Getty Museum
Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, Self-Portrait with Two Pupils, Marie Gabrielle Capet and Marie Marguerite Carreaux de Rosemond, 1785. Oil on canvas, 210.8 x 151.1 cm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 53.225.5
Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, Marie Gabrielle Capet and Marie Marguerite Carreaux de Rosemond, ca. 1785. Black chalk with stumping, red and white chalks on beige paper, 38.1 x 48.3 cm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1998.186
Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, Portrait de femme, 1787. Oil on canvas, 100.6 x 81.4 cm. Musée des beaux-arts de Quimper
Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, Portrait of Joachim Lebreton, 1795. Oil on canvas, 73.03 x 59.69 cm. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 94-34
Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, Portrait of Madame de Genlis, 1790. Oil on canvas laid down on board, 73.98 x 60.01 cm. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 91.2
Quentin de la Tour
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Cailleux, J. “Portrait of Madame Adélaïde of France, Daughter of Louis XV.” Burlington Magazine 111 (1969): 1–6.
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De Jesus, Mary Sprinson. “Adélaïde Labille-Guiard’s Pastel Studies of the Mesdames de France.” Metropolitan Museum Journal 43 (2008): 157–72.
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Fripp, Jessica L. Painting Community in Eighteenth-Century France: Labille-Guiard’s Portraits of Artists. Williamstown: Williams College, 2005.
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Hohenzollern, Johann George Prinz von. “Das Bildnis der Marquise de la Valette von Mme Adelaide Labille-Guiard.” Pantheon 26 (1968): 474–82.
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Nicholson, Kathleen. “Labille-Guiard, Adélaïde.” Grove Art Online. 2003. https://doiorg.proxyiub.uits.iu.edu/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T048514.
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Contributions to timeline and bibliography provided by Indiana University A300 student Alyssa Joyal