Elisabeth Louise Vigée-Lebrun
Elisabeth Louise Vigee-Le Brun(1755-1842). Born in Paris, this court painter acquired fame in her homeland as well as throughout Europe. Vigee-LeBrun was mostly a self taught artist, but she received some artistic training from her father prior to his death and she was given advice by Greuze and Venet. Vigee-LeBrun traveled extensively and became a major player in 18th century high society despite her middle class upbringing. A professional portrait painter by the age of 15 years old, Vigee-LeBrun made considerable amounts of money and achieved economic independence for her family. A prolific artist, her work came to the attention of Marie Antoinette and in 1778 Vigee-LeBrun became court painter for the Queen. She became a member of the Royal Academy in 1783 but was forced to flee France in 1789 because of the Revolution and her close ties with the Queen. During her twelve years in exile, Vigee-Lebrun traveled to Italy, Vienna, Prague and Dresden. She was permitted re-entry into France in 1802, after 255 of her artist colleagues petitioned for her return. She traveled to St. Petersburg and London before returning to Paris in 1805 where she remained for the rest of her life. She continued to paint and was made an honorary member of the Societe pour l'Advancement des Beaux-arts in Geneva. In the 1830's she published her memoirs which give insight to her travels and her artistic career.