ID number: BIRBI-80.1
Institution: The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker: Vigée-Lebrun, Élisabeth Louise (1755-1842)
Title / Object name: Portrait of Countess Golovina
Object type: Painting
Date made: between 1797/1800
Materials: Oil on canvas
Measurements: 83.5 x 66.7 cm
Provenance: Elisabeth Golovine (1801-1867), the sitter's daughter; by descent, Leonie Wanda Potocka (1821-1893); by descent, Count Charles Lanckoronski (1848-1933), Vienna; Lanckoronski, 1978; Heim Gallery, P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., and Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox; Purchased from Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox in 1980.
Countess Golovina sweeps up her shawl and looks at us with startling candour. Vigee-Lebrun met and befriended Varvara Nikolaevna Golovina (1766 - 1821) in Russia in the late 1790s during the artist’s exile from revolutionary France. She described Golovina as a ‘charming woman’ who was a talented musician and artist, and a lover of literature. The spontaneous and informal pose conveys Golovina’s lively intelligence and a sympathetic engagement between the two women. The compact octagonal format and the simplest setting - a diagonal shaft of light - reinforce the portrait’s intimacy.
Notes: Exhibited: 'Elisabeth Louise Vigée-Lebrun 1755-1842', Kimbell Art Museum, Forth Worth, USA, 05 June 1982 - 08 August 1982, no. 46; 'Art Treasures of England', Royal Academy, London, 1998, no. 332; 'Elisabeth Louise Vigée-Lebrun', Grand Palais, Paris, Met, NYC, and National Gallery of Canada, Ottowa, 21 September 2015 - 12 September 2016