Adélaïde Labille-Guiard

Adélaïde Labille-Guiard (April 11, 1749 – April 24, 1803) was a French history and portrait painter.

Born in Paris, the daughter of a haberdasher, she studied miniature painting with François-Elie Vincent and oils with his son François-André. Her early works were exhibited at the Académie de Saint-Luc, and after it shut in 1776, at the Salon de la Correspondance.

She married Louis-Nicolas Guiard in 1769 but separated from him in 1777 and therafter earned a living by teaching painting.

On May 31, 1783, Labille-Guiard was accepted as a member of France's Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture. Three other women painters, including Marie Louise Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, were admitted on the same day. Labille-Guiard and Vigée-Lebrun were often compared by critics, with Vigée-Lebrun usually getting the more favourable notices. Labille-Guiard's early masterpiece Self-portrait with two pupils, exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1785, was influenced by Vigée-Lebrun's Self-portrait with a straw hat, painted c. 1782.

The patronage of Adélaïde, aunt of Louis XVI of France, gained Labille-Guiard a government pension of 1,000 livres, and commissions to paint Adélaïde, her sister Victoire-Louise, and Élisabeth, the king's sister. The portrait of Adélaïde, exhibited in 1787, was Labille-Guiard's largest and most ambitious work to date. In 1788 she was commissioned by the king's brother, the Count of Provence (later Louis XVIII of France) to paint him at the centre of a large historical work, Réception d'un chevalier de Saint-Lazare par Monsieur, Grand maître de l'ordre.

Portrait of François-André Vincent, painted 1795. Labille-Guiard married him in 1800.These royal connections made Labille-Guiard politically suspect after the French Revolution of 1789. In 1793 she was ordered to destroy some of her royalist works, including the unfinished commission for the Count of Provence. However, she was far from conservative; in the early 1790s she campaigned for the Academy to be opened up to the general admission of women. At the Salon of 1791 she exhibited portraits of members of the National Assembly, including Maximilien Robespierre and Armand, duc d'Aiguillon.

In 1793 she and her husband were divorced. In 1795 she obtained a lodging at the Louvre and a pension of 2,000 livres. She continued to exhibit portraits at the Salon until 1800. In that year she married her teacher François-André Vincent. She died on April 24, 1803.