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.