French drawing room at Hillwood


Enjoy enriching and educational programming year-round.

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Vigée Le Brun in Paris, Rome, and Russia

Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (1755-1842) was a gifted, largely self-taught painter and pastelist. One of only fourteen women (by comparison with 550 men) who were admitted to the Paris Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, she eventually took sittings not only from Marie Antoinette, but also from the children of Catherine the Great of Russia, Queen Louise of Prussia, and Napoleon’s sister Caroline Murat, later Queen of Naples. When she was obliged to leave France at the onset of the Revolution, she entirely recreated her career abroad, in Rome. Both her technical excellence and her social skills contributed to the direct, life-like qualities of her portraits.

Hillwood’s Portrait of Marie Antionette and Children, on display outside Marjorie Merriweather Post’s bedroom suite, is modeled after Vigée Le Brun’s painting.



5:30-6:30 p.m.: Mansion, Deco Japan, and Four Seasons open for self-guided touring
6-6:30 p.m.: Wine and cheese reception
6:15 p.m.: Theater Doors Open
6:30-7:30 p.m.: Lecture

7:30 p.m.: Book Signing. ­­­­­Vigée Le Brun is available for purchase in the Museum Shop.


About the Speaker

Katharine Baetjer has spent her professional career as a curator in the department of European paintings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has worked on several exhibitions, including Vigée Le Brun: Woman Artist in Revolutionary France, Canaletto and Watteau Music and Theater.  She wrote the catalogue of British old master paintings for the Metropolitan Museum and has published on subjects as diverse as Gustav Klimt and Jackson Pollock.


About the Frederick J. Fisher Lecture

This is the fifth annual lecture honoring the legacy of Hillwood’s former executive director, Frederick J. Fisher, who served for twenty years (1990-2010).