Marie Antoinette’s Personal Portraitist and the Unlikely Painting of an Indian Ambassador

This January, Sotheby’s celebrates trailblazing female artists from the 16th through the 19th century with The Female Triumphant, a group of masterworks offered across our Masters Week sales. In spite of institutional obstacles, talented women like Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun, Fede Galizia, and Elizabeth Gardner Bouguereau paved the way for future generations of artists everywhere. In this episode of Expert Voices, Old Master Paintings Specialist Calvine Harvey recounts the story of how Vigée Le Brun, the personal painter to Queen Marie Antoinette, used her royal connections to paint a striking portrait of a visiting Indian ambassador. Painted in 1788, Vigée Le Brun’s monumental Portrait of Muhammad Dervish Khan has been unseen on the market for over a century and will be a highlight of this season’s Master Paintings Evening Sale. (30 January | New York)

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