Élisabeth Vigée Lebrun

Selbstbildnis, 1790

Marie Louise Élisabeth Vigée Lebrun (also: Le Brun, * 16. April 1755 in Paris; † 30. March 1842 in Louveciennes) was a French painter, who made numerous of haven advice of European noble.

Table of contents


childhood and youth

Louise Élisabeth became to 16. April 1755 as a daughter of the painter Louis Vigée (* 1715; † 1767) and the hairdresser Jeanne Maissin (* 1728; † 1800) in the Rue Coquilliere, Paris, born and in the church pc. Eustache baptized.

With three months it was sent to farmers to Épernon close Chartres, where them remained five years. Back in Paris it was accommodated 1760 in the monastery boarding school Couvent de la Trinité in the Rue de Charonne. There soon the designs of the young Louise Élisabeth on their booklets and on the walls failed. Also the father was inspired of the designs of his six or seven-year-olds daughter and forecast it a future as a painter. 1767 left it the boarding school, in order to live again with their parents. From its father it received to first art instruction.

After the death of their father to 9. May deepened Élisabeth into the indication art and took instruction with Gabriel Briard, member of the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, later with Horace Vernet. In the same year their nut/mother married the Goldschmied Jacques François Le Sèvre. The family pulled into the Rue Saint Honoré opposite the palace Royal. With attendance Élisabeth copied pictures of old masters from private collections. Their after-said in recent years one of the most beautiful women of Paris to have been. Already with 15 years she earned herself its money through professional of haven advice. She knows orders of Verehrern, which only one meeting with it had in the sense, back. After its studio was closed 1774 for lack of license, it applied to the Académie de Saint Luc, where one explained itself ready to issue their work. To 25. October 1774 became it member of the Académie.

After its stepfather had sat down to the peace, the family rented a dwelling in the Hôtel living run in the Rue de Cléry, who belonged to the painter and art dealer Jean Baptiste Pierre living run at that time.

relationship with the king house

Selbstbildnis, 1782

at the 11. January 1776 married Élisabeth Vigée Jean Baptiste Pierre living run. Their business flowered; it painted numerous member of the aristocracy. finally 1778 were called it after Versailles, in order to make haven-guessed/advised from Marie Antoinette. The queen was in such a way impressed that Vigée Lebrun received orders for numerous further of haven advice of the royal family. To 12. February 1780 was born its only child, Jeanne Julie Louise.

From May to June 1781 Élisabeth traveled with its man by Flanders and the Netherlands, where the works of the flämischen masters her compelled to try new mark techniques out. In addition it painted haven advice of some noble, among other things the prince von Nassau.

To 31. May 1783 Vigée Lebrun member of the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture as a painter of the historical Allegorie. Beside their on the same day also Adelaïde Labille Guiard was taken up. The male responsible persons were against the admission Vigée Lebruns, however finally became by the instruction of Ludwig XVI. in a forced manner to after Marie Antoinette requested its man in addition. In August it issued for the first time its work in the salon of the Académie; the opinion over its works was divided.

1784 suffered Vigée Lebrun an abortion. In the summer 1785 it issued a set of paintings in the Académie Royale, which was evaluated to a large extent positively. Also following exhibitions were enthusiastically received. 1788 organized it more souper grec, one of the social events during the rule of Ludwig XVI.

With the time however the attacks mehrten themselves against Vigée Lebrun. In the press she was accused a relationship with the Minister of Finance at that time Calonne. 1789 ruined the publication of a freely invented letter between it and the Minister their reputation. Vigée Lebrun looked for refuge at the family of the architect Brongniart.

in the exile

Selbstbildnis with their daughter, 1789

after the conquest of Versailles in the course of the French revolution fled Vigée Lebrun at the night 6. October 1789, accompanies from its daughter and their Gouvernante to Italy. Their thought was to return to France after the general order will be restored. On its way it held in Lyon, Turin, Parma (where it at the 3. November was taken up to the academy) and Florenz, before it arrived at the end of November at Rome.

In Rome Vigée Lebrun was further in aristokratischen circles. Their works aroused admiration, so that them were taken up at the beginning of of April 1790 to the Accademia di San Luca. In the following it made altogether for three journeys after Neapel.

To 14. April 1792 left it Rome toward Paris, whereby it held in Spoleto , Foligno , Florenz , Siena, Parma , Mantua , Venice , Verona and Turin. It stated that their name was set on the list of the emigrants and it had thus lost all French citizen rights. Their entire possession was intended to the seizure. The request of their man to paint it from the list to remained unsuccessful. Since it noticed the fact that the situation for it was too uncertain as Royalistin decided it, to remain in Italy.

In Milan the Austrian Ambassador convinced it of the fact that it would be in demand as Porträtistin in Vienna. There arrived, it rented itself a house at the outskirts of a town. Meanwhile Jean Baptiste Pierre published the disputation Précis historique de la vie de la Citoyenne Le Brun, in order to defend its wife. It was however ignored and arrested in November short time. One month later also Élisabeths brother Etienne was arrested; it remained long over a half year in detention. Jean Baptiste Pierre submitted the divorce, in order to protect its possession.

To 19. April 1795 traveled Élisabeth Vigée after sank Petersburg, where it arrived at the end of of June and rented a dwelling in the proximity of the winter palace. There their experience with customers from aristokratischen circles proved as useful. It was promoted of the Zarenfamilie, which led to the fact that she accumulated a considerable fortune within her six-year stay. It made numerous of haven advice of the family members Katharinas II. and to the academy of the forming arts one took up.

During a meeting of the Directoire to 26. July 1799 one of 255 artists, writers and scientists signed Petition presented in favor of of Élisabeth Vigée. In the following year died their nut/mother. Scarcely one month later, to 5. June 1800, was finally painted Vigées name by the emigrant list. Thus the way was free for a return to France. In the same year Julie living run married the director of the imperial theatre of pc. against the will of its nut/mother Gaetan Berne pool of broadcasting corporations Nigris. Petersburg. After a short stay in Moscow Vigée went back to Paris. On the way back it was six months long in Berlin , where it with the Hohenzollern - family in contact came.

to the return

Selbstbildnis, 1800

after altogether 12 years exile came Élisabeth Vigée to 18. January 1802 in Paris on, and pulled again into the Hôtel living run. Later she rented a country house in Meudon, where she completed some pictures begun in Russia and Germany.

Since it admits now in completely Europe as a haven guessing painter and was popular, it visited after the peace of Amiens London and made haven advice of numerous British personalities such as lord Byron . In July 1805 Vigée over Holland and Belgium returned to the Hôtel living run to Paris.

1807 received it the first (and only) order of the imperial yard: haven-guesses/advises from Napoléon Bonapartes sister Caroline. In the following it traveled twice to Switzerland, where it l'Avancement to the honour member of the Société pour Beaux kinds was appointed.

Also also over fifty years resumed Vigée still the painting. In December 1809 she bought a large country house in Louveciennes. In the following time it was both there and in Paris, until its country house was occupied in the year 1814 by the Prussian army during the so-called wars of liberation. To 7. August 1813 died their man.

To 8. December 1819 died Julie Nigris, one year of late Etienne Vigée. Etiennes daughter Caroline became thus the exclusive heiress of Vigée. To 30. June 1827 was appointed Élisabeth Vigée the member of the Académie de Vaucluse.

1835 published it with the help of their nieces Caroline Rivière and Eugénie Le franc the first volume of their memoirs, which supply an interesting view of the training of artists toward end of the monopoly of the royal academies. 1837 followed second and the third volume of their souvenirs.

1841 suffered Élisabeth Vigée an impact accumulation, which drew a durable paralysis. It probably died at Arteriosklerose to 30. March 1842 in their dwelling in the Hôtel Le Coq, Rue Saint Lazare at the age of 86 years. It is buried on the cemetery of Louveciennes in the proximity of its old house.


of haven advice and 200 landscapes is received work of Élisabeth Vigée Lebrun, that are to be assigned to the classicism. Beside private collections several larger European and US-American museums accommodate (in Germany: the lock Charlottenburg) their works.


  • Louise Élisabeth Vigée, souvenir, Paris 1835-1837 (in numerous republications)
  • Joseph Baillio, Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, 1755-1842, University OF Washington press 1983, ISBN 02-9596-012-4
  • Lida of Mengden, the beauty painter… Memories of Elizabeth Vigée Le Brun, collection Luchterhand: Darmstadt/Neuwied 1985, ISBN 3-472-61553-2
  • Inès de Kertanguy, Madame Vigée Lebrun, Perrin 1994, ISBN 22-6201-625-9
  • Angelica Goodden, The Sweetness OF - A Biography OF Elizabeth Louise Vigee Le Brun, Andre German 1998, ISBN 02-3399-021-6 Gerrit
  • Walczak, Elizabeth Vigée Lebrun, German art book publishing house, Berlin/Munich 2004, ISBN 3422064575 - in addition the review would run from Elizabeth Décultot, Yerres, on the mailing list H-Soz-u-cult of 9. December 2005.

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