Kimbell Art Museum Exhibition
June 5 - August 8, 1982

Elisabeth Louise vigee Le Brun may be one of the most successful women artists of all time. until recent years has a woman achieved such artistic acclaim during her lifetime, and it is perhaps too soon to predict the fortune of such contemporary leaders of the art world as O'Keeffe, Louise Nevelson, and Nancy Graves. vigee Le Brun excelled in a genre that was both exceedingly popular and competitive. Her portraits of women and children were of particular merit and she also produced male images of considerable distinction, such as the commanding Portrait of Hubert Robert in the Louvre. Her fame, which was almost unrivaled in her own time, survived well into this century until a shift in taste against the ancien regime began several decades ago. In more recent years there has been a revival of scholarly and public interest in the portrait artists who worked around 1800. With this attention has come a more sympathetic appraisal of the artistic situation in Europe in the last quarter of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century.

This exhibition, the first ever devoted exclusively to vigee Le Brun, is an outgrowth of that development . Its aims are to shed light on her talents, which are still not fully appreciated by students of the period, and to dispel myths about her art and personality that have prevented an objective appraisal of her achievement.

We owe the initial suggestion to undertake the exhibition to David M. Robb, Jr., Chief Curator, who has written the preface to this publication and coordinated all aspects of the exhibition. At our invitation, Joseph Baillio of New York advised the museum on the contents of the show, helped negotiate several critical loans, and wrote the exemplary exhibition catalogue, which will be the first monographic treatment of the subject to appear in print since 1919. We are deeply grateful to both individuals for their thoroughness and dedication.

The museum also wishes to acknowledge Not the support it has received from the many owners and curators of vigee Le Brun paintings who generously agreed to participate in the exhibition. Without their cooperation the Georgia exhibition would have contained a far less representative and important selection of the artist's accomplishments. In particular, we wish to extend our gratitude to Michel Laclotte, Pierre Rosenberg and Jean Pierre Cuzin of the Musees de France in Paris.

Edmund P. Pillsbury

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Reproduced with the permission of the
Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas.

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