Though born and trained in Sweden, Roslin had a brilliant career in Paris, where he became one of the foremost portraitists of the eighteenth century. He lived in Bayreuth in Germany for two years, then in Italy for five. Once in Paris in 1752, his personality and talent won him noble friends all over Europe.
The most prominent female painter in eighteenth-century France, Anne Vallayer-Coster concentrated on still life and portraiture. Her beauty, skill, and upright character captivated the French court, and she was given an apartment in the Louvre, a rare honor for a female artist. Roslin captures her in the act of painting, her lips slightly parted as she meets our gaze. The immediacy is heightened by the lack of background and by the flashes of lace and taffeta. This painting was exhibited at the Salon of 1783.