Self portrait in 1783, in the collection of the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo
6 September 1761|
Lyon, Kingdom of France
Paris, Kingdom of France
Marie-Gabrielle Capet (1761–1818) was a French Neoclassical painter. She was born in Lyon on 6 September 1761. Marie-Gabrielle came from a modest background and her previous background and artistic training is unknown, but in 1781 she became the pupil of the French painter Adelaide Labille-Guiard in Paris. She excelled as a portrait painter, and her works include oil paintings, watercolours and miniatures.
Marie-Gabrielle Capet was born at Lyon in 1761. In eighteenth-century France, the Royal Academy of Art was responsible for training artists and exhibiting artworks at the Salon that glorified heroic values promoted by the Bourbon patriarchy. Until the French Revolution, the Royal Academy of Art in Paris was the central institution for official artistic practice, and limited its number of female students to four at a time. In 1781, twenty-year-old Capet moved to Paris to become the student of Adélaïde Labille-Guiard (1749-1803), a Neoclassical artist who was admitted to the Academy in 1783.
Capet showed her early work at the Exposition de la Jeunesse, and later exhibited at the Salon when it was opened to all artists after the French Revolution. Her body of work included miniature paintings, oil paintings, and pastels, which were praised for their virtuoso draftsmanship and use of color. Many of her pastel paintings were portraits, though by 1808 she was regarded as a history painter in her own right. She counted among other customers several members of the royal family, and other members of Paris society, such as the lawyer Pierre-Nicolas Berryer and the playwright Joseph Chénier.
Capet and Labille-Guiard not only enjoyed a professional relationship, but were also close family friends. Capet would move in with her teacher at the Louvre until Labille-Guiard's death. Even after Adélaïde Labille-Guiard married the painter François Vincent in 1799, Capet continued to live in their home.
Among her works the best known are those of Mesdames Adelaide and Victoire, Madame Vincent surrounded by her pupils, Mlle. Mars, and Jean-Antoine Houdon. At that time the Academy had limited the members of women painters to only four woman members. She died in Paris in 1818.
The work of Marie-Gabrielle Capet contains a large collection of miniature portraits, the majority of which are housed in The Louvre. Included in this collection are portraits of Madame Martin de Lesseps, Madame Elisabeth, sister of Louis XVI, and Mademoiselle Mars.
The atelier of Madame Vincent, painting from 1808 now in the Neue Pinakothek, Munich.
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- For a complete monograph on Capet's life, see Arnauld Doria, Gabrielle Capet, Paris: Les Beaux-Arts, 1934.
- Laura Auricchio, "Self-Promotion in Adélaïde Labille-Guiard's 1785 "Self Portrait with Two Students", The Art Bulletin, Vol. 89, No. 1 (March 2007)
- Delia Gaze, "Capet, Gabrielle", Dictionary of Women Artists (1997: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers)
- Charles Landon "Salon de 1808", Journal des Arts, des Sciences, et de Littérature, no. 170. 10 Frimaire an 10, p. 65.
- (French)"Marie-Gabrielle Capet". /www.femmespeintres.net. Archived from the original on 27 April 2016.
- Heller, Nancy G., Women Artists: An Illustrated History, Abbeville Press, Publishers, New York 1987 ISBN 978-0-89659-748-8
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- Golemba, Beverly E. (1992). Lesser-known Women: A Biographical Dictionary. Boulder u.a.: Rienner. p. 37. ISBN 978-1-55587-301-1.
- "Self–Portrait with Two Pupils". www.metmuseum.org. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
- Zoffany, Johan (1771–1772). "The Royal Academicians". The Royal Collection. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
- "Articles/Capet" (PDF). www.pastellists.com. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
- "Jaconde, Portal of the Collections of the Museums of France". Culture.couv.fr. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Bryan, Michael (1886). "Capet, Marie Gabrielle". In Graves, Robert Edmund. Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers (A–K). I (3rd ed.). London: George Bell & Sons.