Portrait of a Man


Adélaïde Labille-Guiard ( French, 1749 - 1803 )

About 1795
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General Description

Acclaimed for her candid and accurate portraits, Adélaïde Labille-Guiard was one of only a few women elected to the French Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in the 18th century. In this superb example of Revolutionary portraiture, she convincingly depicts a range of textures, from the sheen of silk to the matte hair powder, with loose and dynamic brushstrokes. Paralleling this lively application of paint is the sitter's casual and expressive demeanor; the direct gaze, raised eyebrow, and parted lips give the impression that he is actively engaging with us. By portraying him against a stark background without props or accessories, Labille-Guiard emphasizes his individuality and psychology over material wealth.

Excerpt from

DMA label copy.

Fun Facts

  • Adélaïde Labille-Guiard and fellow artist Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun were both accepted into the French Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture on May 31, 1783. They were deemed rivals by the press, but this was most likely not the case.

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