Biografie – Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun

Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun

Eine kurze Biografie

Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun war eine erfolgreiche französische Malerin des 18. und 19. Jahrhundert. Geboren wurde sie am 16. April 1755 als Tochter eines Porträtmalers, der das Talent seiner Tochter schon früh erkannte und förderte.[1] Nach dem Tod des geliebten Vaters musste Élisabeth Vigée schon im Alter von 12 Jahren die Familie finanziell unterstützen. Mit dem Verkauf ihrer Porträts erlangte sie schnell hohes Ansehen und galt bereits im Alter von 15 Jahren als professionelle Porträtmalerin.[2]

Wegen ihres außergewöhnlichen Talents wurde Vigée 1774 in die Académie Saint-Luc aufgenommen.[3] Durch die Aufnahme in einer Akademie konnte sie in Salons ausstellen und erreichte damit mehr Kunden. Kurze Zeit später lernte sie den Kunsthändler und -kritiker Jean-Baptiste Pierre Le Brun kennen, den sie im Jahr 1776 heiratete.[4]

Diese Vermählung brachte ihre Kontakte in die höchsten Adelskreise, sogar zum königlichen Hof. Bis ins Jahr 1780 schaffte es Vigée zu der favorisierten Porträtmalerin von Königin Marie Antoinette aufzusteigen,[5] von der sie in ihren Memoiren nur Gutes zu berichten hatte. Um ihre Karriere weiter zu fördern, bewarb sich Vigée Le Brun an der Académie Royale, wo sie zunächst abgelehnt wurde. Erst unter königlicher Order, angestoßen von Marie Antoinette, wurde Vigée Le Brun in der Akademie aufgenommen.[6] Als weibliches Mitglied durfte sie in Salons ausstellen, jedoch nicht an Malkursen oder sonstigen Fortbildungsmitteln teilnehmen.[7]

[1] Sello 1988, S. 65.

[2] Vigée-Lebrun 1985, S. 11.

[3] Vigée-Lebrun 1985, S. 11.

[4] Vigée-Lebrun 1985, S. 12.

[5] May 2005, S. 35.

[6] Vigée-Lebrun 1985, S. 15.

[7] Vigée-Lebrun 1985, S. 16.

Abb. 1.: Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, Madame Vigée-Lebrun et sa fille, 1789, Öl auf Leinwand, 130,0x94,0 cm, Paris, Louvre Museum

Aufgrund der guten Beziehung zu Marie Antoinette wuchs der Neid ihrer Kollegen gegenüber Vigée Le Brun an und sie bekam auch Anfeindungen aus der Öffentlichkeit zu spüren. So kursierte beispielsweise das Gerücht, dass sie eine lesbische Beziehung mit der unbeliebten Königin pflegte.[1] Als 1789 die französische Revolution ausbrach, nutze Vigée Le Brun die erste Gelegenheit, um mit ihrer Tochter zu fliehen. Durch ihre Nähe zum Königshaus, sah sie ihr und das Leben ihrer Nächsten in Gefahr.[2]

[1] Vigée-Lebrun 1985, S. 16.

[2] Vigée-Lebrun 1985, S. 17.

Das erste Zufluchtsland war Italien. Hier kam Vigée Le Brun ihrer Arbeit als Malerin nach. Durch die neue Bedrohung im Körper der französischen Revolution, hielten die Aristokraten in allen europäischen Ländern an den alten konservativen Mitteln fest.[1] Vigée Le Brun traf mit ihren Gemälden demnach weiterhin den Geschmack der Zeit. Höfe aus ganz Europa hießen sie in ihren Anwesen willkommen und ließen Vigée Le Brun für sie malen. In vielen Akademien wie Rom, Genf und St. Petersburg, wurde sie aufgenommen.[2] Besonders in ihren sechs Jahren am Hof des Zaren in Russland, erarbeitete sich die Malerin ein Vermögen an.[3] 1794 ließ sich ihr Mann, der nicht aus Frankreich geflohen war, von Vigée Le Brun aus Sicherheitsgründen scheiden.[4]

Erst unter Napoleon konnte sie 12 Jahre später nach Frankreich zurückkehren.[5] Dennoch trieb das Fernweh sie immer wieder aus Frankreich hinaus und sie reiste auch noch im hohen Alter in Länder wie England oder in die Schweiz.[6] Am 29. Mai 1842 starb Vigée Le Brun.[7] In ihrem Leben malte sie über 600 Porträts und 200 Landschaftsgemälde, die sie in ganz Europa verkaufte.[8] Modell standen ihr viele Adlige und königliche Familienmitglieder aus Österreich, Preußen, England, Russland und weitere.

[1] Vigée-Lebrun 1985, S. 18.

[2] Vigée-Lebrun 1985, S. 18.

[3] Vigée-Lebrun 1985, S. 18.

[4] Vigée-Lebrun 1985, S. 13.

[5] Vigée-Lebrun 1985, S. 18.

[6] Vigée-Lebrun 1985, S. 19.

[7] Vigée-Lebrun 1985, S. 19.

[8] Vigée-Lebrun 1985, S. 13.


Abb. 1.: (letzter Zugriff am 15.02.2021)


May 2005: May, Gita; Vigée-Lebrun, Elisabeth Louise: Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun: the odyssey of an artist in an age of revolution, New Haven, 2005.

Sello 1988: Sello, Gottfried: Malerinnen aus fünf Jahrhunderten, Hamburg, 1988.

Vigée-Lebrun 1985: Vigée-Lebrun, Louise-Elisabeth; Mengden, Lida von (Hg.): Die Schönheit Malerin…: Erinnerung der Elisabeth Vigée-Le Brun, Darmstadt 1985


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