Madame Grand - 1783
Oil on Canvas, 36" x 28"
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NewYork
Catherine Noele Verlee (called Worlee) was born in Tranquebar, India, in 1762, where her father was a French official. In 1778, when she was barely 16, she married George Francis Grand. After adventures in Calcutta and London they settled in Paris where she was painted by Vigée Le Brun. She divorced Grand, and in 1802 married Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand, Duc de Périgord, later Prince de Bénévent. They separated in 1815. She died in 1835. This painting is also known as "The music lesson". A variant of this painting exists, which some have attributed to vlb, though the artist only listed one portrait of Mdm Grand in 1783. (vlb had erroneously listed a portrait of Mdm Grand in 1776, but at that time the sitter was still an unmarried girl, living in India.)

Reference Kimbell Exhibition Catalog Number 12 for more details.

The Museum Information Plate

Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun
French, 1755-1842

Madame Grand (Catherine Noele Worlee, 1762-1835), Later
Princess de Tallyrand-Perigord
French, 1749-1843

Oil on canvas
Signed and dated (left) L.E. Lebrun 1783

The sitter was born in India and married George Grand, an Englishman in the colonial civil service. After amorous adventures in Calcutta and London, she settled in Paris in 1783, the year this portrait was exhibited at the Salon. She was eventually divorced and in 1802 married the diplomat Talleyrand, whose portrait by Prud'hon is also exhibited in this gallery.

Contemporary descriptions of Madame Grand's Nordic beauty match her appearance here. Her expression, reminiscent of 17th-century Italian painter Guido Reni, may also have been intended to suggest her indolent and ingenuous nature.

Bequest of Edward S. Harkness, 1940

[French Gallery: View 1][French Gallery: View 2][The French Room]
[Vigée Le Brun at the MET Page][Vigée Le Brun's Home Page]