The Marquise de Pezay, and the Marquise de Rougé with Her Sons Alexis and Adrien

Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun1787

National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
Washington, DC, United States

Madame Vigée Le Brun was part of the world she painted and, like her aristocratic patrons, was under threat of the guillotine after the revolution. She was forced to flee Paris in disguise in 1789. She had been first painter to Queen Marie–Antoinette and her personal confidant. The queen had intervened to ensure her election to the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, an honor accorded few women.

More than two–thirds of Vigée Le Brun's surviving paintings are portraits. Most, like this one, are of women and children who are idealized —flattered—into a kind of family resemblance. These unrelated young women, for example, could easily be mistaken for sisters. Their garments, airy silks and iridescent taffetas, are almost more individual than their faces, although both women were friends of the artist. The picture was hailed as a tribute to friendship and maternal love when it was shown at the Salon of 1787.


  • Title: The Marquise de Pezay, and the Marquise de Rougé with Her Sons Alexis and Adrien
  • Creator: Élisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun
  • Date Created: 1787
  • Physical Dimensions: overall: 123.4 x 155.9 cm (48 9/16 x 61 3/8 in.) framed: 177.8 x 203.2 x 19.1 cm (70 x 80 x 7 1/2 in.)
  • Provenance: One of the sitters, Victurnienne Delphine Nathalie, marquise de Rougé [1759-1828, née Rochechouart Mortemart], Paris, Château de la Bellière, Château de Beaune-la-Rolande, and Château de Moreuil; by inheritance to her son, comte Adrien Gabriel Victurnien de Rougé [1782-1838], Château de Guyencourt, Cuyencourt-sur-Noye (Somme); by inheritance to his son, comte Armel-Jean-Victurnien de Rougé [1813-1898]; by inheritance to his son, Armel-Marie-Fernand de Rougé [b. 1847], Paris and Château de Saint-Symphorien-des-Monts (Manche), until at least 1914; by inheritance to his son, comte Jean de Rougé [1880-1960], Château de Saint-Symphorien; presumably to his nephew, Charles-Edouard de Cassagnes de Beaufort de Miramon-Pesteils [b. 1930]; purchased 1960 by (Wildenstein & Co., Inc., New York); purchased 24 June 1964 by the Bay Foundation, New York; gift 1964 to NGA.
  • Medium: oil on canvas

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