L'art au féminin
Thursday, September 13, 2018 - Friday, October 19, 2018
26 rue Laffitte 75009 Paris
“Madame de Grollier painted flowers superlatively, and was far from having what is called an amateur talent. Many of her pictures could be placed beside those of Van Spaendonck, whose pupil she was. She was wonderfully eloquent when talking about painting, as she was, besides, about all subjects.”
Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun, Souvenirs, Paris, 1835-1837.
Two women painters and a portrait of the artist
The Portrait of the Marquise de Grollier (1741-1828) by Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun (1755-1842), painted in 1788 – that is, just before the French Revolution, which imposed exile on both these leading ladies of the Société d’Ancien Régime – bears vibrant witness to their respective pictorial talents. The sitter and the celebrated artist, painter to Queen Marie-Antoinette, were friends; Elisabeth often mentions Charlotte in her memoirs, the Souvenirs, and the image she conveys perfectly illustrates the words she wrote about the noblewoman: “Madame de Grollier was always simple and natural, and never showed any pretension, nor an ounce of pedantry”.
This presentation offers an opportunity to discover the multi-faceted talent of the Marquise de Grollier, above all her skill in painting flowers. The four compositions presented here, previously unpublished, reflect the passion of the Marquise for botany and horticulture, which she inherited from her mother. She was to follow this path, creating three gardens from the ground up – those of the properties she owned, of which nothing remains but written descriptions and still-buried archival documents – a rare endeavour for a woman of her era.
She knew how to pass from the macrocosm of gardens to the microcosm of buttons, the latter botanical in their own way, just as they should be! The delicate handling of her compositions painted on canvas or ivory (in this instance, buttons) make them unique reflections of their time, renewing a taste for the wonders of nature.