Marie Victoire Lemoine was born the eldest of four daughters to Charles Lemoine and his wife Marie Anne Rouselle. She studied under the history painter Francois Guillaume Ménageot (1744-1816), who rented an apartment in the hôtel de Lubert in the rue de Clery, in the same building as the art dealer Jean Baptiste Pierre Le Brun and his wife Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun (1755-1842), who was to become the most celebrated female painter in France. Although it is unclear whether Lemoine studied formerly under Vigée Le Brun in her workshop, although this seems quite unlikely being just a year younger than Vigée Le Brun, it is probable the two female artists came into close contact with one another, and had very similar styles. Lemoine never achieved the commercial success of Vigée Le Brun, but her reputation began of grow steadily during the late 1770's and 1780's and she began to receive important portrait commissions from members of the royal family and senior figures of the court. The present picture probably dates from the 1780's or early 1790's, and is reflective of her growing confidence in the art of portraiture.
Lemoine probably traveled to Italy in 1793-4, like her friend Vigée Le Brun, who had fled in 1792, to escape the reign of terror in France. Although there is no documentary proof of the journey it is clearly suggested by the painting of A Lady from Frascati with a Guitar player in a Landscape, location unknown (see . Baillio, 'Vie et oeuvre de Marie Victoire Lemoine (1754-1820)', Gazette des Beaux-Arts, CXXVII, April 1996, pp.132-4). In 1796 Lemoine exhibited for the first time at the Salon du Louvre, and she continued to exhibit pictures at the Salon until 1814, the year of the first Bourbon restoration.