Anne Vallayer-Coster has been called the second-greatest French still-life painter of the 18th century after Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin.
Her father’s elevated status and aristocratic patronage may have helped the young Vallayer-Coster overcome some of the restraints that hindered many women artists.
She achieved fame and recognition very early in her career, being admitted to the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in 1770, at the age of twenty-six.
In 1780 she was named Painter to Queen Marie Antoinette. She continued painting a broad range of subjects and themes including animals, trompe-l’oeil bas reliefs, miniatures, and full-sized portraits, which mirrored the opulence of French aristocracy before the Revolution.
In addition to still life, she painted portraits and genre paintings, but because of the restrictions placed on women at the time her success at figure painting was limited.
Vallayer-Coster’s life was determinedly private, dignified and hard-working. She survived the bloodshed of the French Revolution, but the fall of the French monarchy, who were her primary patrons, caused her reputation to decline.
Anne Vallayer-Coster‘s marvelous paintings can be found at museums and galleries and on the Internet.