"Anne Vallayer-Coster" (1744-1818)
Canvas, reinforced along the edges 72 x 59 cm.
1 000 000 - 1 200 000 SEK
113 895 - 136 674 EUR
Mme Jules Porgès, born Ephurussi.
Art dealer Paul Cailleux, Paris; purchased from him with help of Director Carl Trygger, thereafter in a private collection, Sweden.
Salon du Paris, 1783, catalogue no 39 ("Portrait de Madame Vallayer-Coster, Académicienne")
Paris, Hôtel des négociants en objets d'art, tableaux et curiosités, rue de la Ville-l'Evêque,"Exposition des femmes paintres du XVIIIème siècle", 1926, catalogue no 92.
Châteu de Versailles, "Deux siècles de l'histoire de France (1589-1789), 1937, catalogue no 302.
Malmö Museum, "Alexander Roslin 1719-1793. Verk ur offentliga och privata samlingar", 1962, catalogue no 69.
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux, "La pienture francaise en Suède. Hommaga à Alexander Roslin et à Adolf Ulrik Wertmüller", 1967, catalogue no 180.
Washington-Dallas-New York-Marseilles, "Anne Vallayer-Coster, Painter to the Court of Marie-Antoinette/Anne Vallayer-Coster, peintre à la courde Marie-Antoinette", 2002-03, catalogue no H.
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, "Alexander Roslin", 27 September 2007 - 13 January 2008, catalogue no 32.
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, "Stolthet och fördom - kvinna och konstnär i Frankrike och Sverige 1750-1860", 27 September 2012 - 20 January 2013, catalogue no 20.
Collection des Livrets, des anciennes expositions depuis 1673 jusqsu'en 1800, "Exposition de 1783", 1870, XXXII, p. 22, no 39.
Gunnar W Lundberg, "Roslin - Liv och verk", 1957, II, plate 164, III, p. 98, no 552 (bibliography).
Patricia Lemonnier, "Alexandre Roslin. Un portraitiste au siècle des lumières", L'estampille - L'objet d'art, edition 2, no 234, March 1990, p. 82f.
Per Bjurström, "Roslin", 1993, p. 56, 163, 168-169, 208, 233.
Khang-Roland Michel, "Anne Vallayer-Coster, Painter to the Court of Marie-Antoinette/Anne Vallayer-Coster, peintre à la courde Marie-Antoinette", exhibitioncatalogue, 2002-03, ill. in colour cat no F., p. 231, no F (bibliography) and. ill. p. 225.
Magnus Olausson and others, "Alexander Roslin", Nationalmuseum, exhibitioncatalogue, catalogue no 32, ill. in colour at p.207 and mentioned at p. 89.
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, "Stolthet och fördom - kvinna och konstnär i Frankrike och Sverige 1750-1860", exhibitioncatalogue, Stockholm, 2012, catalogue no 20, p. 151.
A token of friendship
When Alexander Roslin, one of the leading portrait painters during the l’ancien régime, depicted his equally famous colleague Anne Vallayer-Coster in Paris 1783, he was at the height of his career. Alexander Roslin was born in the south of Sweden in 1718 but soon moved to Stockholm were he learned to paint. As many artist of the time he travelled through Europe and worked in many country's. In the mid-1740s he was court painter at Bayreuth. He went on an educational tour to Italy and in 1752 he came to France. Except two years in St Petersburg and a short journey back to Sweden he spent the rest of his life in Paris.
The lady in the painting, Anne Vallayer-Coster, was one of her generation's most talented still life painters. She was one of the first women to be elected as a member of the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in Paris, extraordinary for a woman at that time when the Academy was a man's world and few women was able to enter the public art scene. It was decided shortly after her election in to the Academy that the number of female members could not exceed four.
The couples Roslin and his wife and Vallayer-Coster and her husband lived both at the Louvre, where the king traditionally donated housing for particularly favored artists and other court officials.
Anne Vallayer-Coster would experience successful years at the time of l'ancien régime but also survive the turbulent years surrounding the French Revolution and later the imperial period in France. She came from an artistic Parisian family. Her father was a goldsmith and the mother painted miniatures. In early years Vallayer-Coster showed artistic talent and was trained in miniature painting by Madeleine Bassaporte, an artist at the court. Her talant gave her much attention and she was allowed as a student at the Academy where she specialized in flower paintings, still life and trompe l'oeil paintings. At the age of twenty-five, in 1770, she exhibited for the first time. She was often compared with her contemporary female colleagues Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun and Adélaide Labille-Guiard (they were often referred to as the Three Graces), although their paintings differed in style.
Her fame during her lifetime was great, especially when she was noticed by Queen Marie Antoinette. The Queen purchased several of her works and drew great attention to her art.
At the Paris Salon in 1783 Roslin exhibited two paintings, one a self-portrait and the other was this painting. It was the first time the portrait was shown to a larger audience.
Roslin's popularity both during his lifetime but also today is undisputed. He was one of the most talanted portrait-artist of his time and widely known was his masterful ability to illustrate fabrics like silk, lace and gold embroidery in the fashionable costumes of the time. Roslin's ability to capture the personality of the people he portrayed made him very popular among the clients and enables us even today to feel close to the people he depicted.
This very interesting and beautiful portrait of Anne Vallayer-Coster is more than an official portrait, it's a token of friendship and probably a present for a painting by her that he had in his possession. Several of Roslin's portraits from the same time represent unknown beauties, contemporary Parisian nobility but this is something else, he captures her personality as well as beauty and the picture became highly appraised after the Salon in newspapers such as Le Veridique au Salon where it was described as being "one of the artist's best".
Vallayer–Coster is shown with the typical artist attributes, the tool palette and brushes, and with her left shoulder facing the viewer this painting has been compared with Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun's famous self-portraits. For a long time it was also misinterpreted as a self-portrait.
Anne Vallayer-Coster painted several portraits herself, for example the princesses Sophie, Adelaide and Victoire.
The first retrospective exhibition of work by Vallayer–Coster was arranged for the National Gallery of Art in Washington in 2002 and she is represented at the Louvre with a couple of her most famous still life paintings, two allegories of art and music .
This portrait was last shown at the National Museum in Stockholm at the exhibition ”Pride and Prejudice. Woman and artist in France and Sweden 1750-1860” in 2012-2013.