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Louise Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun
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    (April 16, 1755-March 30, 1842)
    Born in Paris, France
    Birth name was Marie Elisabeth Louise Vigee
    Painted 600 portraits and 200 landscapes
    Court painter for Marie Antoinette
    Her name is also spelled LeBrun and Lebrun.
    Also, Vigee and LeBrun are sometimes connected by a hyphen, sometimes not.
    When she attended convent school, she was constantly in trouble for writing on the walls with chalk.
    She caused a minor scandal when she painted a self-portrait in which she showed -- gasp! -- her teeth as she smiled.
    Her paintings were used as propaganda to improve Marie Antoinette's image by depicting her as a loving mother.
    She was allowed into the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture only through the intervention of King Louis XVI (who, in turn, was pressured by Marie Antoinette).
    In her teens, she became the main financial support for her family, who had been left penniless by her father's death.
    The Royal Academy's objection to her membership had nothing to do with her talents or even (surprisingly) her gender, but was based on the fact that her husband was an art dealer.
    She was forced into exile for a dozen years by the French Revolution.
    She had a flair for innovative poses and a knack for capturing a sitter's likeness with relative ease.
    She said her 'only true happiness has been in painting.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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