Marie-Gabrielle Capet

Marie-Gabrielle Capet

Self portrait in 1783, in the collection of the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo
Born (1761-09-06)6 September 1761
Lyon, Kingdom of France
Died 1818
Paris, Kingdom of France
Nationality French
Style Neoclassicism

Marie-Gabrielle Capet (1761–1818) was a French Neoclassical painter. She was born in Lyon on 6 September 1761. Marie-Gabrielle came from a modest background and her previous background and artistic training is unknown, but in 1781 she became the pupil of the French painter Adelaide Labille-Guiard in Paris. She excelled as a portrait painter, and her works include oil paintings, watercolours and miniatures.[1]


In the atelier of Adélaïde Labille-Guiard. Labille-Guiard, Self-portrait with two pupils. The pupils are Marie-Gabrielle Capet and Carreaux de Rosemond
Marie-Gabrielle Capet, by Labille-Guiard

Marie-Gabrielle Capet was born at Lyon in 1761.[2] In eighteenth-century France, the Royal Academy of Art was responsible for training artists and exhibiting artworks at the Salon that glorified heroic values promoted by the Bourbon patriarchy. Until the French Revolution, the Royal Academy of Art in Paris was the central institution for official artistic practice, and limited its number of female students to four at a time.[3] In 1781, twenty-year-old Capet moved to Paris to become the student of Adélaïde Labille-Guiard (1749-1803), a Neoclassical artist who was admitted to the Academy in 1783.

Capet showed her early work at the Exposition de la Jeunesse, and later exhibited at the Salon when it was opened to all artists after the French Revolution. Her body of work included miniature paintings, oil paintings, and pastels, which were praised for their virtuoso draftsmanship and use of color.[4] Many of her pastel paintings were portraits, though by 1808 she was regarded as a history painter in her own right.[5][6][7] She counted among other customers several members of the royal family, and other members of Paris society, such as the lawyer Pierre-Nicolas Berryer and the playwright Joseph Chénier.[6]

Capet and Labille-Guiard not only enjoyed a professional relationship, but were also close family friends. Capet would move in with her teacher at the Louvre until Labille-Guiard's death.[8][9][10] Even after Adélaïde Labille-Guiard married the painter François Vincent in 1799, Capet continued to live in their home.

Among her works the best known are those of Mesdames Adelaide and Victoire, Madame Vincent surrounded by her pupils, Mlle. Mars, and Jean-Antoine Houdon. At that time the Academy had limited the members of women painters to only four woman members.[11][12][13] She died in Paris in 1818.[14]


See also


  1. "Marie-Gabrielle Capet".
  2. For a complete monograph on Capet's life, see Arnauld Doria, Gabrielle Capet, Paris: Les Beaux-Arts, 1934.
  3. Laura Auricchio, "Self-Promotion in Adélaïde Labille-Guiard's 1785 "Self Portrait with Two Students", The Art Bulletin, Vol. 89, No. 1 (Mar. 2007)
  4. Delia Gaze, "Capet, Gabrielle", Dictionary of Women Artists (1997: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers)
  5. Charles Landon "Salon de 1808", Journal des Arts, des Sciences, et de Littérature, no. 170. 10 Frimaire an 10, p. 65.
  6. "Marie-Gabrielle Capet". / Retrieved 2015. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  7. Heller, Nancy G., Women Artists: An Illustrated History, Abbeville Press, Publishers, New York 1987 ISBN 978-0-89659-748-8
  8. "marie-gabrielle+capet+biography". Retrieved 2015. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  9. "marie-gabrielle+capet+biography". Retrieved 2015. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  10. "Women Artists in Nineteenth–Century France". /
  11. Golemba, Beverly E. (1992). Lesser-known Women: A Biographical Dictionary. Boulder u.a.: Rienner. p. 37. ISBN 978-1-55587-301-1.
  12. "Self–Portrait with Two Pupils". Retrieved 2015. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  13. Zoffany, Johan (1771–1772). "The Royal Academicians". The Royal Collection. Retrieved 2015. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  14. "Articles/Capet" (PDF). Retrieved February 11, 2015.

This article incorporates text from the article "CAPET, Marie Gabrielle" in Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers by Michael Bryan, edited by Robert Edmund Graves and Sir Walter Armstrong, an 1886–1889 publication now in the public domain.

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