French Women Painters 1780-1830: The Birth of a Battle

French Women Painters 1780-1830: The Birth of a Battle.

The Luxembourg Museum in Paris, France, is holding an exhibition called “Women Painters 1780-1830: The Birth of a Battle” until 4 July 2021. The women are all French painters.

The exhibition covers half a century, from the pre-Revolutionary years to the Restoration, and features about 70 works from public and private French and international collections. 

The museum states that the exhibition aims to bring the public’s attention to an issue about which little or nothing is known:

“how the then-unprecedented phenomenon of increasing numbers of women in the fine arts was linked to the changing organisation in the sphere of artistic production (administration, training, exhibition, criticism) and the transforming tastes and social practices relating to art.”

What strikes me most is that the scenes are predominantly indoors; there are no landscapes or garden scenes. The women painted in the studio – they painted visitors to the studio and they painted other female painters, and their children and animals. Occasionally, there is a still life painting of flowers. At the time, they did not pack up a box of paint and brushes and take to the countryside. Views of the crowded art studios show busy scenes of females at work in a community atmosphere.  

Included in the exhibition, among others, are the paintings of Adelaide Labille-Guiard (1749-1803); Elisabeth-Louise Vigee Le Brun (1755-1842); Rosalie Filleul de Besnes (1752-1794); Marie-Guilhelmine Benoist (1768-1826); Adele Romanee (1769-1846); Jacques-Augustin-Catherine Pajou (1766-1828); Antoine-Jean Gros (1771-1835); Julie Duvidal de Montferrier (1797-1865); Louise-Josephine Sarazin de Belmont (1790-1871); Marie-Victoire Lemoine (1754-1820); Jeanne-Elisabeth Chaudet (1761-1832); Marie-Denise Villers (1774-1821); Isabelle Pinson (1769-1855); Hortense Haudebourt-Lescot (1784-1845); Marie-Eleonore Godefroid (1778-1849); and Francois Gerard (1770-1837). 

Curator: Martine Lacas, Doctor of art history and theory, author, independent researcher.

Exhibition design: Agence Charrat, Gaïtis, Zenoni.

Exhibition organised by the Réunion des musées nationaux – Grand Palais, Paris.

Published by MaNi

Martina Nicolls is an Australian author and international human rights-based consultant in education, healing and wellbeing, peace and stabilisation, and foreign aid audits and evaluations. She has written eight books and continues writing articles and thoughts through her various websites. She loves photography, reading, and nature. She currently lives in Paris, France.

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