A Scholar Collects

A Scholar Collects

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 29. Portrait of a Sleeping Infant.

Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun

Portrait of a Sleeping Infant

Auction Closed

January 31, 03:58 PM GMT


20,000 - 30,000 USD

Lot Details


Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun

Paris 1755 - 1842

Portrait of a Sleeping Infant

Black, red and white chalk with stumping

12 ⅝ by 9 ⅞ in.; 320 by 250 mm (sight size)

Sale, Paris Hôtel Drouot, 16 December 1987, lot 16;

Private collection;

Where acquired by the present owner.

J. Baillio and X. Salmon, Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, exhibition catalogue, Paris 2015, pp. 197-199, 353, cat. no. 67, reproduced p. 197;

J. Baillio, K. Baetjer, and P. Lang, Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, exhibition catalogue, New York and Ottawa 2016, pp. 83, 244, cat. no. 14, reproduced

Munich, Galerie Arnoldi-Livie, Sehnsucht zur Kindheit, Spring 1995, no. 8;

Marly-le-Roi/Louveciennes, Musée-Promenade, and Cholet, Museum of Art and History, 

L’Enfant chéri au siècle des Lumières, après l’Émile, 2003, no. 54;

Paris, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais; New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art; Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada, Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, 2015-16, no. 67 (Paris) and no. 14 (New York and Ottawa).

The sleeping baby in this portrait, executed circa 1783, has not been identified, but as Joesph Baillio aptly points out, he ‘is so similar in pose and composition [to lot 7] that they could be studies of the same little boy.’1 Like lot 27, this study has been rendered in a combination of red, black and white chalk. The baby is portrayed in a vertical format, swaddled in a blanket and wearing a bonnet with frills and lace. Just as in lot 7, the child is deep in slumber, his hands slightly raised above his chest. The fingers of his left hand lightly touch his thumb, while the other hand hangs over the blanket’s fold. Madame Vigée’s careful observations and attention to detail lend a striking vividness to this sweet and tender portrait; the viewer is faced with the little up-turned nose of the baby and the plumpness of the ruddy cheeks, flushed from sleep.

1. J. Baillio, P. Lang and K. Baetjer, Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, exh. cat., New York and Ottawa 2016, p. 83, under cat. 15