Rose-Adélaïde Ducreux

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Rose-Adélaïde Ducreux
Rose adelaide ducreux color.jpg
Self-Portrait with a Harp of 1791, in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Born Rose-Adélaïde Ducreux
Paris, France
Died July 26, 1802(1802-07-26)
Nationality French
Known for Painter and musician

Rose-Adélaïde Ducreux (1761 – July 26, 1802) was a French painter and musician, born in Paris.[1] Eldest daughter of Joseph Ducreux, with whom she also studied, she showed at the Louvre Salons in 1791, 1793, 1795, 1798, and 1799.[1][2] She was accomplished both as a performer and as a composer.

Ducreux first exhibited at one of Pahin de la Blancherie's bi-weekly exhibitions, known as the Salon de la Correspondance, in 1786.[2] This self-portrait in pastel, the location of which is currently unknown, depicted the artist in the act of painting.[3] Her self-portraits often included musical and artistic attributes.[1]

A self-portrait of Ducreux seated at a piano-forte, c. 1785 and formerly part of the Erlanger Collection, was misattributed to Jacques-Louis David for a long time, as were other works by her.[3] Work by Decreux has also been misattributed to her contemporaries Antoine Vestier and Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun. Ducreux made her debut at the Louvre Salon in 1791, for which she submitted a portrait of a young woman and a life-size, full-length self-portrait in which she is depicted playing the harp; the latter oil on canvas is now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, though many of her works remain untraced today. She never signed her work.[1] As with many women artists in the eighteenth century, Ducreux paints herself with an object of accomplishment, the harp, rather than her painterly tools in the fashoin of her male counterparts.

 In her brief career, Ducreux exhibited at a number of important exhibitions beginning in 1786 and continuing until 1799, including the January 1786 Salon de la Correspondance, and the 1791 Salon at the Louvre. She showed two works at the latter show, including her most famous work, Self-Portrait with a Harp.[1]

Rose Adélaïde Ducreux, Portrait of the Artist, ca. 1799. Oil on canvas, Musée des beaux-arts, Rouen.jpg

In 1802 Ducreux moved to Saint-Domingue, where she married the maritime prefect, François-Jacques Lequoy de Montgiraud. She died shortly after of yellow fever.[1]

Art transformed[edit]

Rococo Period

The French Revolution brought new artistic styles. One of these styles, Rococo, is a more decorative style and is derived from the French word rocaille meaning shell. It emerged in France and spread throughout the world in the late 17th and early 18th century. This type of art style was marked by asymmetry, naturalism, pastel colors and delicate shell-like and watery forms. The French built town houses which adopted this type of style; they became intimate areas for community gathering and entertainment.

Ducreux adopted this style in her work since she lived throughout this time period. The colors in her portraits were very light and gentle to the eye. These portraits were also asymmetric, often having the subject pose and stare off to the side while they seem to be doing something.[4]

Famous works[edit]

Self-Portrait with a Harp

Created in 1791. Painted in oil on canvas. Dimensions 76 x 50 ¾ in (193 x 128.9 cm).[5] This work has been identified with a self-portrait that Mademoiselle Durceux exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1791. The portrait was made around the time of the French Revolution, so to some, it may seem odd that the painting depicts such a luxurious garment at a time when the population of France revolted against luxury and totalitarianism. However, the painting represents the transitional time of 1791; having the luxury of fabrics contrast the simplicity of the background.

Portrait of the Artist

Created in 1799. Painted in oil on canvas.[5]

Portrait d'une femme tenant sa fille sur ses genoux

Painted in oil on canvas. Dimensions 77 x 51.2 in (195 ½ x 130 cm).[5] Here depicts a woman holding a child bearing flowers. The simple background greatly contrast with luxury of fabrics.

Portrait of a Lady

Painted in oil on canvas. Dimensions 75 ½ x 50 ½ in (194 x 128 cm).[5]

Portrait of Diane de la Vaupaliere

Created in 1790. Painted in oil on canvas.[5] Shows a portrait of a lady seated before a harp and reading some books. The major color of the painting is brown, and compared with it, the lady in white looks like an angel. The painting gives people a peaceful feeling and is now in the collection of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Self-Portrait with a Harp". 
  2. ^ a b "Royalists to Romantics: Spotlight on Rose Adélaïde Ducreux". Broad Strokes: The National Museum of Women in the Arts' Blog. 2012-05-15. Retrieved 2017-03-08. 
  3. ^ a b Hyde, Melissa (2016-07-06). "" Peinte par elle-même? "". Arts et Savoirs (6). ISSN 2258-093X. doi:10.4000/aes.794. 
  4. ^ "Grove Art: Subject Guide in Oxford Art Online". Retrieved 18 June 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Rose-Adelaide Ducreux - Artworks". Retrieved 18 June 2017.