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Nationalmuseum acquires a rare miniature portrait by Adélaïde Labille-Guiard
Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, Madame Lefranc Painting a Portrait of Her Husband Charles Lefranc, 1779. Watercolour and gouache on ivory. Photo: Bodil Karlsson/Nationalmuseum.
STOCKHOLM.- Nationalmuseum has acquired a spectacular miniature by Adélaïde Labille-Guiard. One of the most important women artists in late 18th-century France, she was not previously represented in the museum’s collections. The work is interesting on account of the motif alone, depicting a woman, albeit an amateur, in the role of artist.

Miniature portraits by Adélaïde Labille-Guiard (1749–1803) are extraordinarily rare. Her depiction of Madame Lefranc Painting a Portrait of Her Husband Charles Lefranc was painted five years after she made her debut (1779). Like many other female artists, she realized early on that miniature portraits offered a steady source of income. She was a pupil of the Swiss enamellist François-Élie Vincent, a neighbour of her father’s fashion shop in Paris. Gradually Labille-Guiard also took up working with pastels. She frequently reproduced these works in a smaller format as miniatures. After her election to the French Royal Academy of Art in 1783, she switched over completely to large-scale oil portraits. By then, Labille-Guiard had acquired pupils such as Marie-Gabrielle Capet and Marie-Thérèse de Noireterre. It became their job to translate her portraits into miniature format to satisfy the ever-changing demands of customers.

The acquisition of this spectacular work by Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, made possible by a generous donation from the Hjalmar and Anna Wicander Foundation, has filled a major gap in Nationalmuseum’s world-renowned miniatures collection. Madame Lefranc Painting a Portrait of Her Husband Charles Lefranc also documents a time when women began to emerge as serious artists.

Nationalmuseum is Sweden’s premier museum of art and design. The collections comprise older paintings, sculpture, drawings and graphic art, and applied art and design up to the present day. Nationalmuseum collaborates with Svenska Dagbladet, Fältman & Malmén and Grand Hôtel Stockholm.





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