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Louise-Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun (Paris 1755-1842)
Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun (Paris 1755-1842)

Portrait of Countess Urszula Potocka, née Zamoyska (c. 1750-1808/16), bust-length

Details
Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun (Paris 1755-1842)
Portrait of Countess Urszula Potocka, née Zamoyska (c. 1750-1808/16), bust-length
oil on canvas, oval
26 ¾ x 20 7/8 in. (68 x 52.8 cm.)
Provenance
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 25 October 1985, lot 40, as 'Circle of François-Hubert Drouais', where acquired by the following.
Private collection.
Literature
L.É. Vigée Le Brun, Souvenirs, Paris, 1835, I, p. 324.
P. de Nolhac, Madame Vigée-Le Brun, peintre de la reine Marie Antoinette, Paris, 1908, p. 18.
W.H. Helm, Vigée-Lebrun: Her Life, Works and Friendships, London, n.d. [1915], p. 216.
A. Blum, Madame Vigée-Lebrun, peintre des grandes dames du XVIIIe siècle, Paris, 1919, p. 95.
J. Mycielski and S. Wasylewski, Portrety polskie Elzbiety Vigée-Lebrun, Lvov and Poznan, 1927, pp. 9-10 (entry contains erroneous statements concerning the sitter's identity and the history of the painting).
A. Ryskiewicz, 'Les portraits polonais de Madame Vigée-Lebrun: nouvelles données pour servir à leur identification et histoire', Bulletin du Musée National de Varsovie, XX, no. 1, 1979, p. 34.
To be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the works of Vigée Le Brun by J. Baillio.

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Lot Essay

Vigée Le Brun painted this elegant portrait of Countess Urszula Potocka when the artist was twenty-one years old. The delicate brushwork, as well as attention to detail and light in the sitter’s dress, demonstrate the sophisticated style Vigée Le Brun had already mastered in her youth.

Countess Potocka encountered Vigée Le Brun twice in her lifetime. The first meeting, when the Countess sat for this portrait, was in 1776 in Paris, the same year she married Count Wincenty Potocki. That Vigée Le Brun could secure a commission from Potocka at only twenty-one demonstrates the international reach of her impressive reputation. Countess Potocka descended from a well-connected and historically influential family of the Polish aristocracy. She was known for her attractive looks and prideful personality. A frequent patron of the royal theater in Warsaw, Countess Potocka was a major sponsor of the dramatic arts throughout her life and even performed in amateur productions.

The present work will be included in Joseph Baillio's forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the works of Vigée Le Brun.

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