SACRAMENTO, CA.- The Crocker Art Museum
has acquired Alexandre Roslins Portrait of Anne Vallayer-Coster, still-life painter and member of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in Paris. Widely considered one of the most important 18th-century French portraits of a female artist, the portrait becomes a signature work in the Crocker Art Museum's collection through the generosity of Alan Templeton.
Roslin's portrait of Vallayer-Coster was a sensation at the Salon exhibition of 1783. Captured in the act of painting a canvas just outside the picture frame, the sitter confidently meets the viewer's gaze with her own. The interplay of textures of silk and skin, Roslin's expertise, makes the likeness all the more compelling.
This portrait brings new splendor to the Crocker's French paintings collection and will be enjoyed and treasured by visitors to the museum for years to come, said Lial A. Jones, Mort and Marcy Freidman Director and CEO of the Crocker Art Museum.
Born in 1744 to a goldsmith father, Anne Vallayer was trained by Madeleine Basseporte, a botanical illustrator who served the French court. Becoming famous for her own flower paintings, Vallayer was received into the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in 1770, and was also active as a portraitist for members of the court. In addition to her artistic talents, it was said that her beauty captivated the nobility of France.
Among Vallayer-Coster's close associates was the painter Alexandre Roslin, whose ambition and diplomatic skills placed him at the center of French cultural life. Though a foreigner, he was not only received into the Royal Academy but also given an apartment in the Louvre in 1771. Born in Sweden, Roslin worked in Germany and Italy before settling in Paris in 1752, where he lived until his death in 1793. His commissions for portraits took him across Europe, including to Russia where Catherine the Great sat for him.