About the artist
At just 15, Louise Elisabeth Vigeé Le Brun (1755-1842) was an established painter, earning commissions which were unfortunately pocketed by her unscrupulous stepfather. To escape his exploitation, she married and journeyed through the Netherlands, perfecting her craft inspired by the Old Masters. However, her husband also sought profit from her talents. Salvation came in the form of teenage queen, Marie-Antoinette, who offered refuge at Versailles. There, amidst rumours of hired assistants and liaisons with courtesans, Vigeé Le Brun painted and encapsulated the queen's idyllic retreat. As the French Revolution ensued, Marie Antoinette's support couldn't shield her forever. Vigeé Le Brun, alongside her young daughter, escaped France, wandering Europe and subsisting on their artistic earnings. In her own words, "painting and living have always been synonymous".