French Revolutionary Artist Vigee Le Brun Reigns Supreme at the Met


Though she was Marie Antoinette’s favorite portrait painter, Elisabeth Louise Vigee Le Brun (1755-1842) was not a queen herself.  She was, however, an extraordinarily gifted artist.  Beautiful, witty, unassuming and largely self-taught, she is arguably the finest of 18th century French portrait painters and to her credit—through a long and illustrious career—she kept her head.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s current exhibit, Vigee Le Brun: Woman Artist in Revolutionary France, fast on the heels of its showing at the Grand Palais in Paris, is long overdue.  Katherine Baetjer, Curator in the Department of European Paintings, remarked to Roberta Smith in the New York Times’ own coverage, that it was the first time in her 40 years in the Department that a monographic exhibition has been held for a woman artist.  Better late than never, this first time retrospective of 79 portraits and one landscape will leave little doubt that the viewer is in the presence of true genius.

Vigee was the daughter of an accomplished pastel portraitist, who helped to guide her precocious talents.  It was a lucky stroke, for when he died when she was only 12 years of age, she was quick to contribute to the family’s support.  Upon first entering the exhibit, a trio of family portraits reveals a remarkable sensitivity toward her sitter.  The portrait of her mother shows a trusting, genteel fatigue, while the brother is confident, totally at ease with his school book and tri-cornered hat.  Even her stepfather, an ambitious playwright whom she suspected of hoarding her income, exhibits a benignly relaxed countenance.  By 19, she was exhibiting publicly and two years later, married to Jean Baptiste  Pierre Le Brun, the principal art dealer in 18th century Paris.  It’s interesting to note the dealer’s self-portrait included here, proudly posed with an artist’s palette, appearing every bit the artistic dandy of his day.


Though the marriage was beneficial to both, producing one daughter, Vigee Le Brun was denied access to the prestigious Academie royale due to her husband’s profession as a dealer.  Such association with the trade was strictly prohibited.  It was only through the intervention of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI that the painter was allowed access, and a large, symbolic canvas, Peace Bringing Back Abundance, was her reception piece in the 1783 salon.  It’s an eye-catching example of her mastery of the female form, the figure of  abundance greets the viewer with exposed breast and  a cornucopia of fruit placed nearby.  But the figure of Peace hovering overhead with a dramatic sweep of emerald green cape gives a feeling of high drama to the whole composition.

Not surprisingly, some of the biggest crowd-pleasers are the three life-size portraits of Marie Antoinette.  The first to greet visitors, Marie Antoinette in Court Dress, was the result of the Queen’s summoning of the young 23-year-old artist to Versailles.  It was specifically commissioned for the queen’s mother, Empress Marie Theresa of Austria who wanted to see her daughter in royal splendor. The portrait is predictably grand, with a perfect mastery of attitude and dress in every stroke.  In all of the portraits, the subject exhibits the Hapsburg trait of a long narrow face and full lower lip, yet the painter was impressed with the queen’s carriage and said that “she walked better than any other woman in France.”

More intriguing are the paired portraits of the queen shown together for the first time—one in a simple pastoral setting wearing a white muslin frock and the other a corseted formal portrait, more befitting her role.  It’s hard to imagine today the scandal and uproar the informal portrait created—the pose is practically identical—but it was soon removed from display. (A trip to Versailles for any visitor curious about daily life for the royal inhabitants must include a train ride to Le Petit Trianon, the farm created for the queen in her role as shepherdess.)


One of Vigee Le Brun’s favorite poses for her aristocratic sitters was an over-the-shoulder glance at the viewer, a pose ideal for projecting a moment frozen in time.  One such example is the fetching Baronne de Crussol Florensac (1785) interrupted in her studies of a musical score.  It’s easy to imagine in a great many of these portraits that painter and subject were in the throes of sharing an intimate and joyful afternoon together.  Was it the artist’s intent or the ebullient nature of her subject?  She once admitted that “I painted them as dreamers and nonchalantly intent.”

The only portrait that stands out in obvious contrast is one depicting the writer Madame de Stael. Painted in the guise of Corinne, one of her more famous literary creations, it’s perhaps the only singularly unflattering portrait in the exhibit—an open mouthed, toothy impression, looking heavenward with lyre in hand, it’s an effectively eye-catching rendering but one rejected by the author.

Vigee Le Burn also exhibited a talent for self-portraiture not easy to achieve, even for the most adept.  My favorite on display, Self Portrait with Cerise Ribbons (1782) is a beautiful study of a young woman, confident in her grace and intelligence, yet exhibiting an unaffected openness.  She has chosen the contrasts of red and black hues, the black hat setting off the luminous face, the drop earring a perfect point of focus.


She could be just as adept in her portrayal of children and not to be missed is a charming portrait of her daughter Julie.  The subject is in profile, holding an angled mirror with her reflection seen in full-face.  It’s not only a totally captivating portrait but one that shows the great love and trust she must have shared with the child.

A major showstopper is surely Marie Antoinette and her Children (1787).  It’s a grand majestic painting, with the queen surrounded by her brood in a powerful, triangular composition.  Never one to forego a helpful suggestion, the painter had sought out Jacques Louis David’s advice at the outset.  The image of the young Dauphin pointing to an empty crib in the background is bittersweet, perhaps referring to the youngest offspring who had died at 11 months.

Such a close association with the queen forced Vigee Le Brun in 1789 to flee France.  While violence raged in her home country, she was quickly embraced by those who could afford her talents.  Traveling to Italy with daughter Julie, she was elected to membership in the Accademia di San Luca in Rome.  While she often worked independently, she was commissioned by the queen of Naples whose daughter Maria Louisa is on view.  Napoleon’s sister Caroline was a sitter as were several of the royalty in Vienna.  One of her most successful sojourns was the six years she spent in Russia where the family of Catherine the Great was only too happy to take advantage of her artistry.

The glitter and glamour of Russian society was obviously to her liking.  A portrait of the Countess Varvara Nikolayevna Golovina dramatically clutching her red stole against the cold, has an unmistakable boldness.  Likewise, a portrait of the young Tolstoy, draped in a rich crimson cape against a bare background, benefits from the singular focus on its subject.  The male subject hardly received short-shrift from the painter and a vibrant and powerful portrait of Stanislaw August Poniatowski, formerly King of Poland, attests to this fact.

There are additional delights in this sumptuous exhibit worth mentioning.  The only landscape,  The Festival of the Shepherds at Unspunnese, was painted near Interlaken, Switzerland and a careful look will reveal the artist with her sketchbook in the foreground.  A series of pastels includes a sketchy self-portrait in broad brimmed hat and curls reminiscent of Boticelli’s mythical beauties.

Vigee Le Brun would enjoy 40 more productive years upon her return to France, giving a detailed account of art and life in post-revolutionary Europe in her journals.  If international recognition for this major artist has been slow in arriving, the Met’s impeccable exhibit is well worth the wait.  The Musee National des Chateaux de Versailles et de Trianon, the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, the Musee du Louvre and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II are also responsible in no small measure for its success.

The exhibition is on view through May 15, 2016.

by Sandra Bertrand

Source: Highbrow Magazine



The Met’s Enigmatic Red Shawl, Inspired by Revolutionary France Painter Vigée Le Brun

Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, Countess Varvara Nikolayevna Golovina, Ca. 1797-1800 Photo: The Henry Barber Trust, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham
Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, Countess Varvara Nikolayevna Golovina, Ca. 1797-1800 Photo: The Henry Barber Trust, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham

Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun was a pretty tough chick.  This gifted portraitist, born in 1755, showed enormous early talent as a painter, but it was hard (then as now!) for young women like her to be taken seriously. She married Jean Baptiste Pierre Le Brun, an art dealer who by reports was a bit of a sleazy gambler, in 1776, and this didn’t exactly hurt her career.

Le Brun is being honored with a major exhibition that opened today at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and though the show is subtitled “Woman Artist in Revolutionary France,” she in fact hightailed it into exile as soon as things got hot.

And could you blame her? Before she fled the scene, Le Brun made her reputation specializing in painting the sorts of aristocratic types who liked to pose as peasant girls and grape gatherers. Her favorite subject was none other than Marie Antoinette, whom she rendered variously in a chemise dress, with a rose, wearing a blue velvet frock, helping pick up Le Brun’s paintbrushes (!), and with her kids in an enormous 108 1⁄4-by-85 1⁄4-inch oil-on-canvas that is maybe some kind of masterwork.

Was it any surprise that when the people of Paris took to the streets there were targets on Le Brun’s subjects’ backs, causing the artist to depart, first to Italy and then to Russia and Austria, before finally making it back to Paris in greatly reduced circumstances?

For some reason lost in the mists of time, Le Brun kept a red shawl in her studio and draped it around a variety of her subjects. It shows up as a sash in a self-portrait; enhancing the gowns of Countess von Bucquoi and Princess Yusupova; fluttering behind the artist’s daughter in Julie Le Brun as Flora; and encircling Count Emmanuel Nikolayevich Tolstoy in 1823.

The Met Store has chosen to reproduce this item, which it calls the Palmette Border Jacquard Shawl, in conjunction with the exhibition, and at $95 it is very nice (and who doesn’t like a souvenir for trooping all the way up to 81st Street?).

Now if only they would make me a shredded tutu in honor of Degas’s LittleDancer.

A 1790 self-portrait of Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun. Photo: Galleria degli Uffizi, Corridoio Vasariano, Florence (1905)

by Lynn Yaeger

Source: Vogue


Elisabeth Louise Vigée-Lebrun – La Reine du selfie

Celle qui fut la portraitiste de Marie-Antoinette s’est également beaucoup représentée. Aujourd’hui, elle serait sur Instagram, elle twitterait et disputerait le titre de “Reine du selfie” à Rihanna, Kim Kardashian ou Rania de Jordanie…

 © Paris, musée du Louvre, département des Sculptures - 1783
© Paris, musée du Louvre, département des Sculptures – 1783

De toutes les femmes artistes qui s’illustrèrent dans la France du XVIIIe siècle, seule Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun est aujourd’hui encore un peu connue du grand public. Non seulement, on associe son nom aux portraits de Marie-Antoinette, et peut-être aussi au célèbre tableau du Louvre où elle s’est représentée avec sa fille, mais l’artiste est également restée dans les esprits comme une femme d’une grande beauté.

Tout au long de sa carrière, Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun n’a pas hésité à se peindre. Soulignant sa beauté, ses ambitions et son ascension sociale et professionnelle, ses nombreux autoportraits ont ainsi ajouté à sa renommée, de son vivant comme après sa disparition. Par ailleurs, la portraitiste a également été représentée par d’autres, en particulier le sculpteur Augustin Pajou, qui a fait d’elle un chef-d’oeuvre en terre cuite présenté en 1783 au Salon de l’Académie royale, l’année même au cours de laquelle Mme Vigée Le Brun était admise au sein de cette prestigieuse institution.

Vigée Le Brun utilise l’autoportrait pour affirmer son statut, diffuser son image et mais aussi rappeler la mère qu’elle est parvenue à devenir malgré les servitudes d’une carrière. Son plus grand coup de force à cet égard est de présenter au Salon de 1787 deux peintures qui restent associées et qui sont sans doute les plus connues. D’un côté, le portrait de Marie-Antoinette entourée de ses enfants ; de l’autre, le portrait d’une femme artiste serrant contre sa poitrine sa fille Julie.



Norton Simon Museum exhibit explores impact of the first synthetic blues on French painters

“The Seine at Charenton” by Jean-Baptiste Armand Guilaumin in the exhibit, “A Revolution of the Palette: The First Synthetic Blues and Their Impact on French Artists,” at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena July 17-Jan 4. Photo courtesy of the Norton Simon Museum.
“The Seine at Charenton” by Jean-Baptiste Armand Guilaumin in the exhibit, “A Revolution of the Palette: The First Synthetic Blues and Their Impact on French Artists,” at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena July 17-Jan 4. Photo courtesy of the Norton Simon Museum.

Think of a color. Any tone you imagine can be found in the form of paint at your local art supply or hardware store, but this wasn’t always the case. It took the discovery of true blue to change things.

“Ancient Romans would have vied for the chance to dye their robes a certain color purple or to achieve a particular pure, sometimes called a true blue, the blue that we see in the ocean or the sky. To re-create that on a painting or any kind of object was so far out of reach that it’s something we can’t relate to now,” said John Griswold, Norton Simon Museumconservator.

Griswold is curator of “A Revolution of the Palette: The First Synthetic Blues and Their Impact on French Artists,” which opens at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena on July 17.

The story of true blue starts in Berlin in 1704 when a colorman (a person who made and sold colors to artists and textile dyers) was borrowing laboratory space from an alchemist in Berlin, Griswold said. The alchemist was creating “animal oil” for the king. His “cure-all” tonic was made with a mixture of ingredients, including blood and potash. The colorman borrowed some potash without knowing it had been contaminated with blood and added it to the blend, which he left overnight in his distiller. The next morning he returned to the lab expecting to see a red hue, but instead the mixture had made the vivid color we now call Prussian blue.

“Prussian blue was cheap. It was super strong in its ability to tint oil paint. If you added white to it or any other color it wasn’t just blue, you had a whole new range of greens available. You could modify whites or yellow to have a different kind of harmony. It opened up all these possibilities,” Griswold said.

Prussian blue allowed artists to also paint ala prima (wet on wet), using thicker paint, leaving their brushstrokes on the finished pieces.

“(‘A Revolution of the Palette’) all began with the paintings talking to me, certainly under the microscope, looking at the brushstrokes and recognizing the pigments and ‘Oh, this is the earliest, most crude version of Prussian blue, the homemade stuff,’ ” Griswold said.

“That’s what this exhibition does, it tells this story and it just gets more amazing because these two other blues (synthetic or French ultramarine and cobalt blue) appeared at the right time that really propelled things toward impressionism.”

Griswold’s favorite painting in the exhibit is the 1793 “Portrait of Theresa, Countess Kinsky” by Marie-Louise-Elisabeth Vigee-LeBrun. In it, the countess poses in a flowing, deep blue satin dress with a soft blue sky behind her.

“That dress she is wearing and the sky behind her would have been impossible without Prussian blue,” Griswold said.

"Happy Lovers" by Jean-Honore Fragonard in the exhibit, “Fragonard’s Enterprise: The Artist and the Literature of Travel,” at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena July 17-Jan. 4. Photo courtesy of the Norton Simon Museum.
“Happy Lovers” by Jean-Honore Fragonard in the exhibit, “Fragonard’s Enterprise: The Artist and the Literature of Travel,” at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena July 17-Jan. 4. Photo courtesy of the Norton Simon Museum.

For even more perspective on Prussian blue’s importance, visitors can view a detail from the painting “Self Portrait in a Straw Hat” by Vigee-LeBrun. It shows a close-up of the palette Vigee-LeBrun holds in the piece with the dabs of the paints she needed to begin her work. The paints are all earth tones, traditionally used by artists to create the base of their pictures, except next to her splotch of white is a large blob of Prussian blue.

“For that to be right there, so ready for her to use it, that really underscored to me how an artist at that time would have used a little tiny bit of Prussian blue to modify the tones of the greens in the background,” Griswold said.

Another part of the exhibit is the invention of oil paint in a tube in 1841. With a proper storage container, standards for colors could be set and artists could now request hues by name from their vendor. Plus, paint in a tube was easily portable.

“The Seine at Charenton” by Jean-Baptiste Armand Guillaumin is a plein air work with dashes of blues in the sky, water and even pathways, which wouldn’t have been possible prior to paint tubes, Griswold said.

And Prussian blue is still changing the world today, as the properties used to create it are currently used in medical research and as an antidote to certain types of radiation sickness, Griswold said.

The Huntington has also loaned the museum books to display by Isaac Newton and Voltaire that examine the changing theories on light and color.

“It’s an exciting exhibition and I think that it’s really great. As John said, these are old friends that we are examining from a scientific perspective,” said Leslie Denk, the museum’s director of public affairs.

“Fragonard’s Enterprise: The Artist and the Literature of Travel,” 60 drawings created by French artist Jean-Honore Fragonard during his first stay in Italy during the mid-18th century, also will be on exhibit at the Norton Simon Museum beginning July 17.

by Michelle Mills

Source: San Gabriel Valley Tribune



Si vous avez une fille ou un fils à marier, emmenez-les séance tenante à l’exposition Vigée-Lebrun au Grand Palais. Aucun des publics habituels n’était à son inauguration. Ni ministre, ni amateur à l’allure « artiste ». Tout le carnet Mondain du Figaro, en revanche, s’y était donné rendez-vous. Les hommes s’appelaient Louis et leurs épouses Adélaïde. On était au-delà du chic. Des effluves de Guerlain flottaient en plein Vatican bourgeois.

C’est simple : tous les exilés de Bruxelles semblent être venus passer la soirée à Paris. Mieux : on aurait dit que les modèles étaient descendus des tableaux pour rejoindre leurs familles dans la salle. L’accent XVI° (l’arrondissement) régnait, des voix rassurantes sans aucune intonation banlieue, gaies et joyeuses comme dans un rallye. Les cartons d’invitation envoyés par le musée allaient de De… à Du…, de La Rochefoucauld à Du Barry en passant par les Polignac.


Autoportrait d'Elisabeth Louise Vigée-Lebrun. The State Hermitage Museum / Vladimir Terebenin, Leonard Kheifets, Yuri Molodkovets, Svetlana Suetova, Konstantin Sinyavsky
Autoportrait d’Elisabeth Louise Vigée-Lebrun.
The State Hermitage Museum / Vladimir Terebenin, Leonard Kheifets, Yuri Molodkovets, Svetlana Suetova, Konstantin Sinyavsky

Pas d’inquiétude : les œuvres ont beaucoup plu. Au fond, c’était des tableaux de famille du temps où les ancêtres partaient se réfugier à Coblence. Vigée-Lebrun ayant souvent peint Marie-Antoinette, toute la Cour, puis toute la ville, ont défilé devant son chevalet. Le charme de l’époque passe en entier dans ses poses fleuries. On se croirait au Hameau de la Reine. L’atmosphère est celle des « Liaisons Dangereuses ». Des courtisanes et des femmes du monde suprêmement civilisées nous sourient sans rien voir de la misère où baignent les temps. Toutes sont ravissantes.

Vigée-Lebrun ménageait sa clientèle. Elle avait inventé Photoshop avant Photoshop pour embellir ses modèles. A Paris jusqu’en 1790, puis en Italie, en Autriche, en Russie où elle voyage pendant que les Jacobins épouvantent la capitale, partout elle s’en tient à un art idéal et à des clientes idéalisées. Rien à voir avec la virilité martiale des néo-classiques et de son contemporain David. Avec elle, on est dans le sérail de l’Europe, chez les femmes qui « tiennent » la société en douceur.

Les années passent, puis le siècle, et les régimes se succèdent sans que Vigée-Lebrun change rien à son style. De 1780 à 1840, elle reste fidèle à elle-même. Observer son évolution, ce serait regardé pousser l’herbe. Rien ne change jamais. C’est joli mais un peu ennuyeux. Comme son exposition décevante mais suprêmement élégante.

by Gilles Martin-Chauffier

Source: Paris Match


Sotheby’s vend à Paris les biens de la famille de France – Y compris une “Vigée Lebrun”

«Je ne vous laisserai que la haine et des larmes pour pleurer.» On se croirait dans une tragédie grecque ou, mieux encore, chez Jean Racine. Ces mots se voient pourtant prêtés au comte de Paris (1908-1999), Henri VI pour les monarchistes français, qui connaissait apparemment des différents insurmontables avec ses enfants. Une nombreuse progéniture… Sur les onze garçons et filles qu’il avait eus d’Isabelle d’Orléans-Bragance (1911-2003), il en subsistait alors neuf de vivants.

Le dernier acte de cette pièce à rebondissements (on a de loin dépassé les cinq actes réglementaires) se déroulera les 29 et 30 septembre chez Sotheby’s Paris. En deux jours, la multinationale dispersera ce qui reste de l’héritage mobilier des Orléans. Deux cent trente deux lots se verront proposés sous le titre un peu vague d’«Une collection pour l’Histoire». Les trois objets phares se sont vus retirés in extremis de la vacation. La ministre de la Culture Fleur Pellerin a interdit toute exportation pour le portrait de Louis XIII par Philippe de Champaigne, les comptes manuscrits du château d’Amboise des années 1494-1495 et le portrait de la duchesse d’Orléans (1) par Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun (2). Ils feront l’objet de tractations de gré à gré, le séjour forcé en France diminuant fortement leur valeur commerciale.

Une fortune dilapidée 

La consultation du luxueux catalogue édité pour l’occasion rend perplexe. Tout ça pour ça! Richissime en 1940 (il avait alors hérité de 400 millions de l’époque), le comte de Paris aura dilapidé ses avoirs pour des chimères politiques. Il se voyait monter sur le trône de France avec l’appui du général de Gaulle. L’homme a de plus maintenu un train de vie dispendieux, alors que s’évanouissaient les terres au Maroc ou les immeubles en Métropole. Quelques brouilles ont achevé sa ruine. Volontaire, selon certains. En créant la Fondation Saint-Louis en 1975, Monseigneur (je respecte le protocole) aurait sciemment lésé son épouse et sa descendance. Il avait mis dans le corbillon ses châteaux d’Amboise, de Bourbon l’Archambault comme la chapelle royale de Dreux et la chapelle expiatoire de Paris.

Tout a plusieurs fois mal fini. En 1975 précisément, Monseigneur rencontrait sa nouvelle compagne Monique Friesz. Il devait quitter en 1986 Madame (autre titre d’usage), qui avait publié quelques années plus tôt son livre à succès «Tout m’est bonheur». Il faut dire que le couple princier habitait, à Louveciennes, une maison nommée Le Cœur Volant… Il ne lui restait plus au comte qu’à se disputer avec ses enfants. Ce fut chose faite en 1993. Cinq d’entre eux, «les conjurés d’Amboise», attaquèrent sa gestion du patrimoine familial. Le premier procès d’une interminable série. Un petit-fils a en effet fini par s’en mêler. En 2014, un tribunal jugeait la dernière de ces affaires après douze ans de procédures.

Plusieur ventes précédentes 

Entre-temps, l’émiettement s’accentuait: Il y avait eu une vente chez Sotheby’s Monaco en 1991. Il y en aura une autre chez Christie’s Paris en 2008. Le merveilleux «Portrait du duc d’Orléans» par Ingres finissait par ailleurs au Louvre pour 11 millions d’euros, prix d’ami, grâce au groupe AXA. Le musée avait aussi récupéré la parure de saphirs de Marie-Antoinette et Joséphine, rattrapée à la frontière.

En 2014, la saga des rois (détrônés) maudits trouvait son terme. La Fondation de France gardait les biens immobiliers, lourds à entretenir. Les objets d’art revenaient à la famille. Ou du moins ce qui en restait. Car il n’y a finalement pas grand chose dans le catalogue. C’est après la Révolution déjà que les Orléans avaient perdu dans les années 1790 leur fabuleuse galerie de peintures, qui fait aujourd’hui la richesse de certains châteaux anglais. Et en 1853 s’est déroulée la vente de la galerie espagnole de Louis-Philippe, riche de dizaines de Zurbaran ou de Murillo.

Un ensemble très historique 

L’histoire l’emporte donc sur l’art, chez Sotheby’s. Il y a là de jolies aquarelles de Carmontelle sur la cour des Orléans sous Louis XV et Louis XVI. Un ou deux portraits de famille intéressants. Un service de Sèvres un peu tardif produit pour la reine Marie-Amélie. Les dessins du prince de Joinville, un fils de Louis-Philippe et de la dite Marie-Amélie, qui avait un petit talent. Un ou deux beaux meubles, mais guère davantage. Des souvenirs en pagaille, dont beaucoup de décorations de l’ordre du Saint-Esprit. Certaines estimations semblent coquettes, bien sûr, mais tout cela sent la fin de partie. Vingt-huit ans après sa participation en fanfare au «millénaire capétien» (4) il ne reste plus grand chose de la famille de France, dont l’actuel chef Henri, né en 1933, se veut Henri VII.

On verra s’il y aura beaucoup de royalistes dans la salle, pour rattraper cela les 29 et 30 septembre.

(1) Epouse du régicide Philippe-Égalité et mère du roi Louis-Philippe, la duchesse survécut à la Révolution. Elle avait rencontré en prison un politicien d’extrême-gauuche, qui se prit de passion pour elle. Ils passèrent le reste de leur vie ensemble, au grand scandale des royalistes comme des républicains. L’aventure n’est bien sûr pas racontée dans la préface du catalogue, respectueuse des Orléans jusqu’à la flagornerie.
(2) Coïncidence? Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun a aujourd’hui sa rétrospective au Grand Palais.
(3) Hugues Capet, ancêtre des Bourbons et des Orléans, est monté sur le trône en 987.


«Une collection pour l’Histoire», Sotheby’s, 76, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Paris, vente les 29 et 30 septembre. Visites du 18 au 28 septembre de 10h à 18h, sauf le lundi.Tél. 00331 53 05 53 05,

Photo (AFP): Le comte de Paris (Monseigneur ou Henri VI) au temps de sa superbe, vers 1950.

Prochaine chronique le dimanche 13 septembre. Archéologie à Brescia, avec une gigantesque exposition sur “Rome et les gens du Po”. C’est très spectaculaire.