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Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Portrait of a Lady (Madame de Gléon?)

Key facts
Full title Portrait of a Lady (Madame de Gléon?)
Artist Jean-Baptiste Greuze
Artist dates 1725 - 1805
Date made about 1760
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 64.1 × 54.6 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Emilie Yznaga, 1945
Inventory number NG5584
Location On loan: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, Chimei Museum, Tainan City, Taiwan
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Portrait of a Lady (Madame de Gléon?)
Jean-Baptiste Greuze

A young woman wearing a blue silk cape is shown half-length looking out of a stone window. Her fashionably powdered hairstyle was known as the ‘tête de mouton’ (’sheep’s head') and was popular in France in the 1750s. She rests her left arm on a piece of light beige cloth draped over the stone ledge to protect her from its chill. The intricate details and folds of her elaborate cutwork lace cuffs are particularly beautifully observed.

The unusual pose of the woman at a stone window may have been influenced by Rembrandt’s Girl at a Window (Dulwich Picture Gallery, London), which was in Paris during the eighteenth century until the late 1770s.

The lady may be Geneviève-Charlotte-Agnès Savalette, who became marquise de Gléon on her marriage in 1748. She was a writer and actress in amateur theatricals.

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