09 March 2007

Adélaïde Labille-Guiard

Yesterday we looked at one case where a Villers was mistaken for a David. Today we have another one to consider. Here's the image in question.

That's the 1799 portrait of Dublin-Tornelle.
And here is a bit about it that I found here:
In 1943, the Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, Mass.) received this portrait of actor Dublin-Tornelle through a bequest of Harvard alumnus Grenville L. Winthrop. For twenty-eight years as part of the Fogg's permanent collection, the portrait was believed to be a David.

Biggest clue that it wasn't? Scholars estimated that the name 'David' was added to the image 26 years after David died. So, they took a look at the painting under ultraviolet lights. I know very little about this process, but apparently this shows a whole bunch of things, like if the painting was ever restored, over-cleaned, over-painted, varnished, etc. Read more here. Anyway, they looked at the painting under ultraviolet lights and they saw a totally different signature: Adélaïde Labille-Guiard.

Labille-Guiard was an accomplished painter, who painted the portraits of anyone who was anyone in Paris, where she was spent most her life. She was a respected teacher and spent many years teaching others to paint. AND, if that isn't enough, she was an activist. She took part in lobbying the academy to allow women to exhibit, and she was among the first women to do it. If you'd like to read more about her, here are a few links:


Matthew said...

So, why are all these paintings being sold as David's? What is it about his work that makes it so easily misattributable?

Dad said...

Confusing, confusing, confusing. Everyone insisting their painting is famous so it is more valuable. I just enjoy looking at the art for the art. I am glad I am naive in the art world. It would spoil it for me if it had to be done by someone famous to make it worth enjoying. Too much sqaubbling for me.