Madame Hilligsberg

John Hoppnercirca 1790-1795

Art Gallery of New South Wales

Art Gallery of New South Wales

Marie-Louise Hilligsberg (c1765/70?–1804) was a French dancer whose performances dazzled the London public in the last decade of the 18th century. She trained in Paris with the great dancer and choreographer Gaëtan Vestris and first came to London in 1787. She joined the King’s Theatre making her first appearance in Dec 1787 in Noverre’s ballet ‘Les offrandes à l’amour’. Hilligsberg was primarily associated with the King’s Theatre though she also performed at the Pantheon and occasionally at Covent Garden and Drury Lane. After the 1802–03 season she moved with her husband to France and began to style herself the comtesse de Beaumont. However, her retirement was brief. She died in January 1804 probably, it was thought, as a consequence of the ‘extreme exertion which she had invariably used in her profession’.

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  • Title: Madame Hilligsberg
  • Creator: John Hoppner
  • Date Created: circa 1790-1795
  • Physical Dimensions: 240.0 x 147.3 cm
  • Provenance: Marie-Louise Hilligsberg, circa 1790-1804, Tours/France, Supposedly Madame Hilligsberg, comtesse de Beaumont, Tours (France), until her death in 1804 John Green, Evans’s Rooms, pre 22 Jul 1871, Covent Garden/London/England, Sold Christie's London 22 July 1871, no 194 (‘Hoppner, Mademoiselle Hilligsberg, Danseuse – whole length’) Morris, post 22 Jul 1871, Purchased Christie's London 22 July 1871, 12½ gns C Davis, pre 23 Apr 1892, Sold Christie’s, London, 23 Apr 1892, no 52 (‘Hoppner. Mlle Hilsburg’) Charles William Dowdeswell, post 23 Apr 1892, London/England, Purchased Christie's London 23 Apr 1892, 165gns Mrs Howard Smith, 1894, London/England, by 1894, lent to 'Fair women', Grafton Galleries, London, Summer 1894, no 85 (‘Mademoiselle Hillsberg. Danseuse, 1791’) M. Knoedler and Co, New York, post 1894, New York/New York/United States of America Harry Payne Whitney, pre 1930, New York/New York/United States of America, by descent to his son Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, 1930-1952, New York/New York/United States of America, Given in 1952 to the North Carolina Museum of Art (acc no G.52.12.1) North Carolina Museum of Art, 1952-16 Nov 1990, Raleigh/North Carolina/United States of America, Deaccessioned 1990. Sold Christie’s, London, 16 Nov 1990, no 15. Robert Jones Fine Art Ltd, London, 1990, London/England, Purchased by Kenneth Reed 1990 Kenneth Reed, pre 2014, New South Wales/Australia, Gift of Kenneth Reed 2014. On loan to AGNSW 2010-14
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Gift of Kenneth Reed 2014. : Gift of Kenneth Reed 2014. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Signature & Date: Not signed. Not dated.
  • Artist Country: England