The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

April 16, 2017

April 16, 1755

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun (April 16, 1755  to March 30, 1842) was a French painter. Here is the only record of her painting a cat I could find. It is the one on the left in the graphic below.

There is a lengthy writeup on Le Brun which details her unusual and successful career. Her portraits of Marie Antoinette both proved and promoted her success as an 18th century woman painter. Some will whine of course. Here is Simone de Beauvoir on Vigee Le Brun:

Instead of giving herself generously to a work she undertakes, a woman too often considers it simply as an adornment of her life; the book and the picture are merely some of her inessential means for exhibiting in public that essential reality: her own self. Moreover, it is her own self that is the principal — sometimes the unique — subject of interest to her: Mme Vigée Le Brun never wearied of putting her smiling maternity on her canvases.

But make up your own mind whether I overestimate the importance of this artist. She fled revolutionary France, her husband divorced her, and she still succeeded because of the patronage of European royals.

Hers is a fascinating life: she overcame incredible odds and her triumph reflects both her character and artistic genius.

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