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Presumed Portrait of the Marquise de Lafayette (1759–1807)

English: In her earlier portraits of French nobility, Adélaïde Labille-Guiard had proven herself adept at rendering intricate details of elaborate clothing, furniture, and architecture. In Presumed Portrait of the Marquise de Lafayette (1759–1807), however, the artist demonstrates how effective an image she can create using a minimal number of elements. In 1774 Adrienne de Noailles, member of a powerful family of French aristocrats, had married the marquis de Lafayette. This portrait, presumed to depict her, was most likely painted in 1790. By that time the marquise's husband had already become well known in both French and American politics. Appropriately, Labille-Guiard's sitter wears a simple dress of the type favored by women during the early years of the French Revolution. She wears no ornate jewelry. She is not posed in an elaborate architectural setting, and even the landscape behind the marquise is relatively restrained in keeping with the simplicity of her apparel and her pose. Her somewhat tentative smile emphasizes the sitter's physical attractiveness without unduly flattering her.



oil on canvas


30 3/4 x 24 3/4 in.

National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.




National Museum of Women in the Arts

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