Artists, On this day..., Painters

On this day… was born Adélaïde Labille-Guiard

Adélaïde Labille Guiard was a French miniaturist and portraitist of the 18th century.  She was born in Paris in 1749. At the of twenty she married to Louis Nicolas Guiard, a clerk from whom she later separated.

She began her studies at the Académie Saint-Luc and received instruction from the pastelist Maurice Quentin de La Tour; in 1776 she entered the studio of the academically trained history painter and portraitist François-André Vincent.

800px-Marie-Gabrielle_Capet study
Study of a seated woman (Marie Gabrielle Capet), 1789 – MET

With time her work changed, from pastels to oil, from miniatures to full scale painting as a result of her training in different artist’s studios. She knew a big variety of artist’s materials and exhibited twice at the Salon de la Correspondance. She was also an experienced teacher of aspiring young women artists.

In 1783 she was admitted to the Académie Royale de Peinture et Sculpture, another women artist, Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, was admitted in the same year.

She received support from some members of the royal family and nobility of the Ancien Régime. In 1787 she was named official painter to Louis XVI’s maiden aunts, Adélaïde and Victoire.

Self-portrait (c.1774)

Labille-Guiard was recognised as a distinguished portraitist and as was the case of most artists that remained in France during the Revolution and the Terror, her production slowed. The Royal Academy was shut down by order of the Assemblée Nationale in 1793 and many institutions barred female artists members.

Although later she continued to exhibited her work, the recognition was much smaller.


  • In the marriage contract, signed on August 25, 1769, it recognised her as a professional painter at the Académie de Saint-Luc. After the separation she lived of her work as artist and teacher.
  • She divorced when it became possible and married again, her second husband was one of her former teachers, François-André Vincent, he was a member of the Royal Academy.



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