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Exhibition at Musée national suisse presents works by Louis-Auguste Brun, painter to Marie-Antoinette
Vue du château de Prangins depuis le nord-est, vers 1779. Huile sur toile, 36 x 45 cm.
© Musée national suisse.

PRANGINS .- From 4 March to 10 July 2016, the Swiss National Museum – Château de Prangins presents an exhibition devoted to the remarkable career of Louis-Auguste Brun, a painter from the Geneva school best known for his equestrian portraits of Queen Marie-Antoinette. Some one hundred works, together with a film recounting the surprising last years of his life as both art dealer and Vaud patriot, allow visitors to explore the life of an individual who defies easy classification. With scent-based guided tours and a Marie-Antoinette-inspired menu at the Café du Château, it’s an experience for all the senses.

A skilled draughtsman and an outstanding painter of portraits, animals and landscapes, the Swiss artist Louis-Auguste Brun (1758-1815) is today principally known for the works he produced at the French court, in particular two equestrian portraits of Marie-Antoinette.

In fact, however, there is much more to his oeuvre. How did a young painter from the village of Rolle who completed his apprenticeship with a local craftsman come to enjoy the splendours of Versailles and gain an introduction to the Queen herself?

The exhibition retraces his remarkable story in around a hundred oil paintings and drawings. It highlights the decisive role of Brun’s encounters in the early stages of his career at Château de Prangins, a centre of cultural life in the Vaud region. The rest is down to Brun’s talent as an artist. Entirely at his ease depicting the diversions and carefree life of the privileged class, Brun begins producing large numbers of portraits, landscapes, hunting and horse racing scenes from the time he arrives in Paris.

The exhibition also presents the works created on the shores of Lake Geneva after his return from France. It ends with a film recounting the surprising final years of his life, as an art dealer, collector and Vaud patriot.

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