Anne Vallayer-Coster was a major 18th-century French painter best known for still lifes. She achieved fame and recognition very early in her career, being admitted to the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in 1770, at the age of twenty-six.
Despite the low status that still life painting had at this time, Vallayer-Coster’s highly developed skills, especially in the depiction of flowers, soon generated a great deal of attention from collectors and other artists. Her “precocious talent and the rave reviews” earned her the attention of the court, where Marie Antoinette took a particular interest in Vallayer-Coster's paintings.
Her life was determinedly private, dignified and hard-working. She survived the bloodshed of the Reign of Terror, but the fall of the French monarchy, who were her primary patrons, caused her reputation to decline.
In addition to still lifes, she painted portraits and genre paintings, but because of the restrictions placed on women at the time her success at figure painting was limited.