Lot 132
  • 132

Studio of Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun

40,000 - 60,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Studio of Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun
  • Portrait of Queen Marie-Antoinette, half length, wearing an elaborate silk-gauze cap, seated at a desk with a book in hand
  • oil on canvas


Anonymous sale, Paris, Ader Picard & Tajan, 26 June 1990, lot 198;
Sébastien and Nancy de la Selle, Paris.

Catalogue Note

As Marie Antoinette’s artist of choice, Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun was commissioned to paint a number of portraits of her royal patroness that were intended as decorations for royal palaces and as gifts of state. The portraits derived primarily from four compositions painted by Vigée Le Brun between 1778-1787.  Copies of these portraits were sometimes executed by the artist alone and sometimes with the help of her studio, although the extent of studio assistance can be difficult to discern.

One of these four portrait types includes the present likeness.  Here, the queen is depicted in half-length holding a book in her right hand.  She wears a red velvet coat trimmed with fur and delicate ruffles, a point lace collar, and an elegant silk-gauze cap.  While the prime version of this composition was commissioned in 1785 as a royal gift for the Comte de Choiseul-Gouffier, the French ambassador to Constantinople, the present work is an exceptional example of the royal portraits produced by Vigée Le Brun and her studio in the 1780s.1

1. For a further discussion of the prime version, see J. Baillio, Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, exhibition catalogue, Fort Worth 1982, pp. 59-64, reproduced p. 62.  The prime version was sold as part of the Robert Polo Collection, Paris, Ader Picard & Tajan, 30 May 1988, lot 19.