Starting on September 23, the Grand Palais in central Paris is hosting an exhibit about one of my favorite artists, Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun. She rose from modest origins to be the official portraitist of Queen Marie-Antoinette. Despite her importance and supreme talent, this is the first French retrospective that has ever been dedicated to her, but, to make up for it, the Grand Palais isn’t holding anything back. There are 130 paintings to see; an animated film about her; an excellent video to introduce the exhibit; you can download the exhibit brochure; or buy an App with a comprehensive look at Vigée Le Brun’s body of work. The exhibit runs until January 11, 2016. If you can’t make it to Paris, the exhibit moves to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York from February to May 2016 and then to the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa from June to September 2016.
Although she was initially taught by her father, Vigée Le Brun was essentially self-made. The way to say this in French is to that she was a painter qui a réussi tout seul (key ah ray-oo-see toot suhl), which literally means “who succeeded all alone.” I won’t be able to get to the exhibit in Paris, but I’ll certainly be at the one in New York.