Reprinted from the Gazette des Beaux Arts, July-August 1967

Text Version of

The Russian Portraits Of Madame Vigée Le Brun
BY Lada Nikolenko

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Princess Dolgorouky
1797 - Figure 1
Art Page 27
Madame Vigée Le Brun spent six years in Russia and seemed to have loved it sincerely. Surely she exaggerated when she wrote that one never sees a drunken man there, or that all Russian people lived very happily under the rule of Catherine II but, on the whole, she experienced there much warm-hearted hospitality and her talent had been greatly appreciated. According to her memoirs. she entered St. Petersburg the 25th of July. She remained there until the 15th of October 1800 when she left for Moscow. In the middle of March 1801 she returned to St. Petersburg to leave it some time later in the same year. "On crossing the Russian border I burst into tears" writes the artist "I wanted to retrace my Journey and I vowed I would come back to those who had for so long heaped tokens of friendship and devotion upon me, and whose memory is ever in my heart " . But she was never to see again the country she considered her second motherland.

Princess Galitzine
1799 - Figure 2
Art Page 108
Among her Russian friends who were many, wealthy, influential and well- educated, the family stroganov played a prominent part and she painted several portraits of its members even before she came to Russia. Mme Vigée Le Brun also Counted among her friends on the banks of Neva the strikingly beautifulPrincess Catherine Dolgorouky (Fig.1), and her still charming mother Princess Maria Bariatinsky . Being lovely herself, Mme Vigée Le Brun had a great weakness for good looks of other people and she found them abounding at the Russian court and in the houses of the Russian aristocracy still fresh in its first flowering of vitality, zest for life and all the enchantment of its almost amorous encounter with Western culture. In a word, Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun met the best representatives of a society which in one generation was to produce Poushkine.

Julie Nigris
1799 - Figure 3
Art Page 9
In her list of portraits done in Russia Vigée Le Brun counts forty-five works but, gathered from catalogues, letters and memoirs, her Russian portraits amount to sixty-seven which is probably still incomplete. Some of them are hard to trace, and are lost for ever in the aftermath of the revolution and civil war in Russia. Some were taken away by Russian emigrants and later sold usually losing their original names, too Iong and too strange for their Western buyers. In fact, most of the portraits of Russian sitters painted by French, Italian or Scandinavian artists, changed their identity abroad.

Irina Worontzov
1797 - Figure 4
Art Page 108
Such was the fate of one of the most picturesque and little known portraits of Russian sitter painted by Vigée Le Brun in St. Petersburg in the 1790s - that of Princess Eudocia Ivanovna Galitzine nee Izmaillov (Fig. 2). Although it is signed and obviously painted with inspiration and fantasy, it is not metioned by the artist either in her list or in her memoirs. This portrait of a lovely dark-haired woman walking with a basket of flowers on her head against an Italian landscape, was shown at the large Exhibition of Russian portraits at the Taurida Palace in St. Petersburg in 1905 . Baron Wrangell in his article "Foreign Artists in Russia" gives an enthusiastic description of this portrait of Princess Galitzine "walking languid and charming, holding a basket of flowers on her head". The sitter of this Italianate portrait was indeed a remarkable woman.. A celebrated beauty, an eccentric, a mistress of a salon a mathematician and a great patriot. She was known in St. Petersburg, under the name of "Princess de Minuit"" because a gypsy once foretold her death in her bed during night hours and all the receptions in her elegant house were held very late at night to prevent her from falling asleep during the span of time she considered fatal. Her beauty was of the classical southern type, with dark locks and eyes and Languorous expression. Young Poushkine who frequented her salon, admired her very much, and one of her friends, Alexandre Turgenev writes in one is letters that "when she is not a Pythia on a tripod but a simple woman in her armchair, she is delightful". One gathers from these words that the lovely Princess could be sometimes carried too far by her outbursts of mystical inspiration.

Countess Maria Potocka
1795-01 - Figure 5
Art Page 95
This portrait , formerly in the Stroganov Collection, was sold at Berlin in 1931. The slightly changed version of it had been sold in Paris in 1928, as the one of Mme Nigris, the artist's daughter (Fig 3), painted in Italy. The background misled the attributers. It had been painted in Russia and Mme Vigée Le Brun has used it for one of those "various landscapes, oils and crayons done at Naples", listed in her memoirs. Both Mlle Le Brun and Princess Galitzine were born in 1780. but at the time the artist was in Italy they were still girls of thirteen. The portrait represents a very young but still grown up woman, the Princess being seventeen or eighteen when Mme Vigée Le Brun painted her in Russia in the late 1790s. Unfortunately, the whereabouts of these portraits are unknown. Its unusual sitter had been also portrayed twice by other artists as a "Vestale" by Yegorov (Tretyakov Gallery) and as a smiling salon beauty by Grassi (Museum of Russian Literature, Leningrad).

Princess Youssoupoff
1797 - Figure 6
Art Page 18
Mine Vigée Le Brun had also painted a portrait of the elder sister of Princess Galitzine, Countess Irina Ivanovna Worontzov (Fig. 4) (spelt "Voranxoff" in her list). The early widowed Countess seemed to be very different from her brilliant sister but nevertheless much admired and respected for her upright character, her good sense in household matters and the excellent education of her only son. Not celebrated for her beauty, but sharing the literary tastes of many of her friends and contemporaries, she is painted with an open volume of Racine on the table in front of her. She is dressed in a simple empire gown and a shawl and the traditional scarf wrapped negligently around her head lets her curly hair fall upon her neck. The portrait is signed and dated 1797 and its present whereabouts are equally unknown.

Princess Galitzine
1797 - Figure 7
Art Page 18
Most of the Russian portraits of Mme Vigée Le Brun are marked by a kind of attractive simplicity, a cozy feeling of being at ease and not posing which is perhaps, speaking of Russian portrait painting in general one of its most remarkable characteristics. Indeed, a lady painted by Borovikovsky of Kiprensky, in a white empire gown in a midst of a green park, is always a little less romantic and elegant than her Western contemporary, but almost invariably more natural, nonchalant and unpretentious. Of course simplicity and sensibility were already fashionable before Mme Vigée Le Brun came to Russia, and she had painted Marie-Antoinette and other ladies in plain dresses and comfortable attitudes, and first introduced this to Russian society. But in the hospitable warm atmosphere of Russian homes this trend had been carried still further in the way of relaxation and many of Mine Vigée Le Brun's portraits reflect this mood.

Countess Skavronskaia
1790 - Figure 8
Art Page 64
However, in some cases, she returned to more theatrical representations, e.g. the portrait of the lovely Princess Dolgorouky (Fig. 1) whom she painted by her own request as "Sybil" repeating with slight changes, her celebrated portrait of Lady Hamilton. The taste of the vanishing 18th century also manifests itself again in such portraits as one of Countess Marie Potocka (Fig. 5) painted in St. Petersburg in I795 reclining on a sofa with a dove in her hand or in a portrait of one of the nieces of Potemkin, Princess Tatiana Youssotipov (Fig. 6), seated in a park (Cat. 17), one elbow resting on a pedestal, holding a Wreath in her hands and herself crowned with flowers. Otherwise her female sitters are represented seated cozily on one of those long broad divans the artist remembered with such pleasure, leaning on a velvet cushion like another Princess Galitzine (Anna Alexandrovna) (Fig. 7), the so-called "Princess Bauris" whose large portrait is now at the Baltimore Museum of Art. To the same group of comfortable images with a velvet cushion belongs the portrait of Countess Ecaterina Vladimirovna Apraxine whose stern beauty had earned her the nick-name "Venus en courroux" when she visited Paris and whom Poushkine used as a prototype for his "Pique Dame" called "Venus Moscovite" in her youth. For the actual old "Pique Dame" of his story he used the much-dreaded mother of Countess Apraxine thus merging the two women, the old and the young, into one personality. However, Mme Vigée Le Brun succeeded in presenting the young woman in a manner and not at all "en courroux".

Countess Stroganov
1796-97 - Figure 9
Art Page 56
The wife of a counsellor Kolitchev, Natalia is painted in the same way as Countess Irina Worontzov (Fig. 4), in a plain long sleeved dress and shawl, with a book opened before her on a familiar velvet cushion. The adorable Countess Catherine Scavronska (Fig. 8), another lovely niece of Potemkin and wife of the Russian Ambassador in Naples, whom Mme Vigée Le Brun first met, admired and painted in Italy, is again represented facing the spectator and folding her arms wrapped in a shawl upon a cushion.

Countess Somoilov
1797 - Figure 10
Art Page 88
Those Iong-sleeved, high waisted dresses and shawls could be seen on portraits done already in France and Austria, before the visit to Russia, but the way those shawls are wrapped around the arms, warmly hiding the hands, conveys that attitude of people living in a colder climate. The contrast with diaphanous Greek chitons of more romantic representations just as the descriptions of a cold winter and a hot summer contrast on the paces of Mme Vigée Le Brun's memoirs.

Princess Menshikova
1796 - Figure 11
Art Page 79
Such simple attire and somewhat chllly pose are shown in the portrait of Princess Anne Belosselsky-Belosersky , a rich heiress married to the Russian Ambassador in Dresden and Turin. In the opinion of one of her contemporaries, Prince Paul Dolgorouky, she had "I'air d'unee femme de chambre endimanchee"" which is somehow reflected in her portrait by Mme Vigée Le Brun. Other ladies wear a similar costume with more grace and elegance in their likenesses, but she is attractive in her simplicity.

Varvara Ladomirsky
1800 - Figure 12
Art Page 19
Mme Vigée Le Brun liked to paint ladies holding their babies in their arms or in their lap. Countess Sofia Stroganov (Fig. 9), her friend and patron in Russia, is shown with her little son. She was one of the most outstanding women of her time - well-educated and lovely, but suffering from poor health which deprived her much too early of her charming looks which Mme Vigée Le Brun succeeded in retaining on canvas. The other beauty Princess Ecaterina Meshikov, is seated before a clavichord, with her child in her lap; Countess Ecaterilia Somoilov (Fig. 10) is painted full length with two of her children; another Princess Galitzine [Princess Menshikova] (Fig. 11) presses her little nephew tenderly to her bosom.

Princess Tufiakin
1801 - Figure 13
Art Page 61
The lack of reference material on Mme Vigée Le Brun's Russian portraits has sometimes led to misunderstandings. The Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts in Columbus, Ohio, acquired some years ago a lovely portrait painted by Mme Vigée Le Brun in Moscow in 1801. It was not listed by the artist and was only mentioned briefly in her memoirs. The description of this portrait given in a small Russian catalogue, of an Exhibition of Historical Portraits presented in St. Petersburg in 1870, had escaped the notice of Mme Vigée Le Brun's biographers. The sitter was a young and pretty Varvara Narishkine (Fig. 12) whose charm Mme Vigée Le Brun tried to enhance by a kind of a classical costume keeping the originality of the face happily untouched by this banal frame. The portrait was published in the sale catalogue of Oscar B. Cintas collection of Old Masters in New York as that Princess Tufiakin (Fig. 13) . The latter portrait was described by the artist in her memoirs and was begun in Moscow in 1801 and later taken to France Mme Vigée Le Brun finished it under those "done in Paris after returning. Mme Vigée Le Brun was very much impressed by the melancholy beauty of the young Princess Tufiakin who died prematurely in 1802. She painted her, according to her own descriptions "Iris" seated on some clouds, with a billowy scarf about her . This description alone excludes the possibility of confounding the portrait of Princess Tufiakin with that of Varvara Narishkine, now at the Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts. The widowed Prince Tufiakin lived in Paris and kept the portrait of his wife in his house. Somewhere, in France, the likeness of Princess Tufiakin, with her clouds and scarves, is preserved simply as a painting by Mme Vigée Le Brun.

Alexandra and Elena
1796 - Figure 14
Art Page 13
Despite the temporary displeasure of Catherine II on account of a portrait of two of her granddaughters, Alexandra and Elena (Fig. 14), painted by Mme Vigée Le Brun locked affectionately together, with a miniature portrait of their grand mother in their hands, and styled by the Empress in a letter to Grimm as deux singles accroupis qui grimacent a cote l un de l autre", the artist executed attractive portraits of other members of the Imperial family: of Grand Duchess Elisabeth Alexeevna, wife of the future Alexander I and of Grand Duchess Maria Fedorovna wife of Paul. Catherine the Great's son, Who was soon to become an Empress, The dynasty of Romanov upheld the ancient Byzantine tradition, adopted by The Moscovite Tzars, to choose their brides for their beauty, and Mme Vigée Le Brun was able to indulge in her love for spectacular looks while painting obligatory official portraits. She did not need to flatter.

The sudden death of Catherine II in I796, prevented the artist front painting her portrait, but she executed the pastel bust portraits of Alexander and Elisabeth Alexeevna which she later finished in Dresden.

Count Tchernyshev
1793 - Figure 15
Art Page 26
Young Russian noblemen painted by Mme Vigée Le Brun painted are, in most cases, also handsome and elegant. Count Grigory Tchernyshev (Fig. 15), a young diplomat, painted again in Vienna. in a black domino and a mask in his hand, shows a lively expression of someone who has just recognized a friend in a crowd around him. An amateur of French verses and plays, he loved gay society life and amusements of balls and masquerades and the artist has captured this mood in his portrait. She continued in this line in her Petersburg and Moscow portraits. Count Paul Stroganov (Fig. 16), friend of Alexander I and husband of the charming Countess Sofia Vladimirovna Stroganov (Fig.17), also painted by Mme Vigée Le Brun, is represented in an easy and elegant pose. seated informally on a chair with a high back. holding his gloves in his left
Count Paul Stroganov
1798 - Figure 16
Art Page 108
hand and showing an expression of a person caught in the midst of an animated conversation. The similar informal pose, with one elbow over the back of the chair, is introduced again in the portrait of Baron (there were two branches of the Strozanov, family - the Counts and the Barons) Alexander Stroganov, (Fig. 18), the so-called "petit Baron" on account of his effeminate beauty. Prince Ivan Bariatinskv (Fig.19), an anglicized land owner and an able administrator of his large estates, turns his handsome curly hair towards the onlookers, painted half length, wrapped in an embroidered velvet cloak. Mme Vigée Le Brun had painted him twice and both portraits were the Taurida Palace Exhibition which presented, just before the fall, the four generations of the Russian nobility.

Countess Sofia Stroganov
1798 - Figure 17
Art Page 88
Another romantic appearance in a velvet cloak is Prince Sergey Gargarine (Fig. 20) painted in Moscow in 1801. Director of Imperial Theaters, he was famous for his good looks and decent treatment of actors and especially young actresses whom he always he always approached in a very polite official way-an attitude greatly deplored by Mlle Mars during her stay, in Russia. Mme Vigée Le Brun enjoyed painting all these attractive young faces which needed no embellishment and made them just as smooth and agreeable as those of her female models.

Alexander Stroganov
1795-01 - Figure 18
Art Page 99
When her model was not especially goo . Mme Vigée Le Brun emphasized her or his intellectual or sympathetic qualities. >Princess Maria Kotchubey is portrayed sketching in a large album placed on her knees: Baroness Anna Stroganov (Fig. 21)arranging flowers in a vase the other portrait of her, now at the Hermitage, shows her with a child in her arms. The oval portrait of her husband, Count Grigory Alexandrovich Stroganov (Fig. 22), painted Vienna in 1793, is now also at the Hermitage and was presented at the Exhibition of French Painting in the Museums of Leningrad and Moscow, shown recently, in France.

Prince Bariatinsky
1803-06 - Figure 19
Art Page 99
Some portraits are preserved only in miniatures done after them Mme Elisabeth Demidov, nee Baroness Stroganov (Fig.23), was painted in Russia. Her name heads the list of Russian portraits compiled by Mme Vigée Le Brun. The portrait, however, seems to be lost. The miniature reproduced in "Les Portraits Russes" by the Grand Duke Nicolas Michailovich " might be eventually, a copy of the lost portrait by . Mme Vigée Le Brun. The pretty and extravagant Mme Demidov was also painted twice by Greuze, as a Bacchante and as a Penitent Magdalen, which reveals her taste for such a genre of portrait. The miniature in question shows her wearing a white turban over her loosened hair and revealing coquettishly one of her bare breasts a feature almost unthinkable among the representations of a Russian lady but characteristic of this eccentric Woman.

Prince Gargarine
1801 - Figure 20
Art Page 98
The other suggestion of a miniature done after a lost portrait by Vigée Le Brun is the portrait of Grand Duchess Anna Fedorovna, the unhappy consort of Grand Duke Constantine, brother of Alexandre I, from whom she was later divorced. Mme Vigée Le Brun listed the portraits as "Grand Duchess Anne, two portraits half length" and praised the young woman's charm and prettiness in her Memoirs. The portraits of the Grand Duchess with a miniature representing Catherine II in her hands, reproduced in "Les Portraits Russes" of Grand Duke Nicholas Michailovich as a work of Mme Vigée Le Brun, was undoubtedly painted by Borovikovsky. The miniature depicts the Grand Duchess in a white dress and dark shawl under which her hands are crossed. Although done by an amateur, it retains something of a smiling charm of the lost portrait.

Baroness Anna Stroganov
1793 - Figure 21
Art Page 89
Also the portrait of Princess Eudocia Galitzine (Fig. 2), " Princess de Minuit" was copied in miniature (without the Italian background landscape) with small changes and not very skillfully. Another portrait, Another portrait, known only via a miniature, is that of Mme Aglae Davidoff, a Frenchwoman married to a Russian general, and courted by Poushkine. Mme Vigée Le Brun mentions her portrait among those "done in Paris after returning", which suggests that it has been begun in Russia and finished in France.

Count Grigory Stroganov
1793 - Figure 22
Art Page 13
Despite the marked predominance of portraits of beautiful women, handsome men and sweet children. Mme Vigée Le Brun left some excellent studies of elderly men painted in Russia. One of the most characteristic among them is the portrait of the old Count Alexey Orlov Tchemensky, the famous champion of Catherine the Great in her fight for power and her wars. Mme Vigée Le Brun painted him without any paraphernalia of a hero, simply as an old man in a red house robe with a large fur collar, and a white kerchief around his neck. Nothing diverts attention from his crafty face. This portrait existed before the revolution in Russia in two variations, full length and bust length painted in an oval.

Mme Elisabeth Demidov
1795-01 - Figure 23
Art Page 108
The portrait of the marshal Count Ivan Petrovich Soltykov, governor of Moscow, whom Mme Vigée Le Brun painted there in 1801, must have possessed the same quality of psychological insight. baron Wrangell in his article "Foreign Artists in Russia" mentions the sly grin of the old marshal , and also emphasizes the pompous man of Count Fedor Golovkine also painted by Mme Vigée Le Brun. Unfortunately it has not been possible to trace the whereabouts of these two portraits of, at least find reproductions of them. At the time of the large Portrait Exhibition at the Taurida Palace, the likeness of Count Golovkine was the property of Kiev University. Maybe it is still there. The artist did not mention it in her list.

The following list of Mme Vigée Le Brun's portraits of Russian sitters comprises sixty seven names derived from her own list and memoirs as well as from the catalogues of exhibitions in Russia and from the dispersed collections. They are divided into two groups: Portraits of women and portraits of men both listed in chronological order according to their date of birth. Portraits of the Polish sitters painted in Russia are not included except that of princess Maria Potocka who later married Count Zubov and is sometimes referred to as Countess Zoubov. later she married Count Uvarov and was also portrayed under this name.

Lada Nikolenko

by Lada Nikolenko


1. CATHERINE II, EMPRESS OF RUSSIA (1729-1796). Pastel.

The inventory of paintings, taken after the death of Mme Vigée-Lebrun (14th of April 1842), mentions a portrait of the Empress, executed in pastel, bust-length, in a carved gilded frame. Strangely enough, Mme Vigée-Lebrun never listed it among her portraits, but in her Memoirs she relates how Catherine II, yielding to the wishes of her family, agreed to have her first sitting for a portrait on November 13, 1796. It was a Sunday; the next Thursday, November 17, the Empress died suddenly. Mme Vigée-Lebrun mourned together with her Russian friends and wrote in her Memoirs, "j'évitai même de regarder le visage de Catherine II, qui me serait resté si tristement dans l'imagination." ["I even avoided looking at the face of Catherine II, who would have remained to me so sadly in imagination."] Was that the reason why she abandoned the pastel portrait of the Empress and never worked on it afterwards? The relationship between Catherine II and the artist had been always somewhat strained. The Empress did not admire her art and this obviously intimidated Mme Vigée-Lebrun, used to adulation. Rovinski in his Dictionary of Engraved Russian Portraits (vol. 4, p. 694) explicitly states that "Catherine disliked Mme Lebrun's art and never sat for her for a portrait." However, he see seems to have been unaware of the artist's Memoirs.

Princess Daria Alexandrovna Troubetzkoy
2. PRINCESS DARIA ALEXANDROVNA TROUBETZKOY, née Countess Roumiantzeff (early 1730s-1809). Miniature drawing.

The younger daughter of a friend and a fellow-champion of Peter the Great, Princess Daria was the mother of Prascovia Yourievna Gagarine, painted by Mme Vigée-Lebrun (Cat. 6) who had possibly executed this drawing while working on her daughter's portrait. This stern looking, dark-eyed old lady had at this time secretly taken the veil, and, although living still in the world, was already a nun. The miniature was purchased from the Count de Castellane collection, and given by Mrs. Henry Milmore to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, where it is now. The provenance from the Castellane, family, related to Russian nobility, the good quality of drawing and, moreover, the striking resemblance of Princess Daria to her mother, a famous Countess Roumiantzeff, favorite of Peter the Great, point to a correct attribution of artist and sitter.


Serene Princess Ecaterina Iljinishna Koutousov-Smolensky

Wife of the famous field-marshal and hero of the war against Napoleon. Painted in Russia between 1795 and 1801. Half-length, turned to the left. Now at the Pouchkine Museum, Moscow, no. 2793. Size 31 5/8 x 26 3/8 inches. Reproduced in the Catalogue of the Picture Gallery. Pouchkine Museum, Moscow, by K. M. Malizki and V. K. Shileiko (in Russian), Moscow, 1948, fig. no. 37.

At the Portrait Exhibition in 1870, this portrait was not attributed to Mme Vigée-Lebrun, but the photograph in the Album, made by Lushev for this exhibition, shows the original, no in Moscow. Catalogue no. 725. Also presented at the Taurida Palace Exhibition under the number 253. A miniature after the same portrait is reproduced in Portraits Russes of the Grand Duke Nicholas Michailovich, vol. 1, fig. 194. Listed by the artist as: "Mme Kutusoff, half-length."

Princess Ecaterina (Karolina) Alexandrovna Dolgorouky

Illegitimate daughter of one of the princes Galitzine; married the Chamberlain, Prince Dolgorouky. Before the revolution, the portrait was in the collection of M. A. Vassiltchikov, St. Petersburg. Present whereabouts unknown. Reproduced in Portraits Russes, vol. 5, fig. 3. Not listed by the artist.

5. EMPRESS MARIA FEDOROVNA, consort of Paul I (1759-1828) . Painting.

Painted in St. Petersburg, 1796-1797. Full-length, standing, wearing a court dress and a diamond crown. Listed by the artist as: "Empress Maria of Russia, wife of the Emperor Paul." Now at the Hermitage, Leningrad.

6. PRINCESS PRASKOVIA YOURIEVNA GAGARINE, née Princess Troubezkoy (1762-1848) . Painting.

Princess Praskovia Yourievna Gagarine

Famous beauty, admired for her courage and her independent and upright character. Waist-length, 26 1/4 x 23 inches. No. 733 of the Catalogue of the Portrait Exhibition of 1870 as Vigée-Lebrun which is also confirmed by the photograph in the Lushev Album. In Portraits Russes (reproduced vol. 5, fig. 16) this portrait is erroneously ascribed to Grassi. Prince Viazemsky, a descendant of Princess Gagarine, gives the description of this portrait in Starina i Novisna (Old and New Times), 1902, nos. 5-6 pp. 3-12 as follows: "There is her portrait in the family, painted by Mme Vigée-Lebrun when Princess Gagarine was young and beautiful. She holds a cane in her right hand with which she traces the name of her husband on a trunk of a tree." Princess Gagarine was the daughter of Princess Daria Troubetzkoy (Cat. 2), whose miniature portrait by Mme Vigée-Lebrun is now at the Smithsonian Institution. The portrait was the property of Prince P.P. Viazemsky in S. Petersburg before the revolution. Present whereabouts unknown. Not listed by the artist.

7, 7a, 7b. COUNTESS ECATERINA VASSILIEVNA SKAVRONSKA, née Engelhardt (1762-1829) . Painting.

Countess Ecaterina Vassilievna Skavronska
Countess Ecaterina Vassilievna Skavronska
Countess Ecaterina Vassilievna Skavronska

One of the beautiful nieces of Prince Potemkine and wife of the Russian Ambassador in Naples. Later married to Count Litta (Cat. 55). Mme Vigée-Lebrun admired the beauty of Countess Skavronska and painted her twice in Naples in 1790. She copied on of the portraits when she was in Russia and included it in her list. The largest portrait, knee-length, seated on a sofa, with a medallion in her hands, is now at the Musée Jacquemart-André (fig. 7). It was engraved en 1791 by Gabriel Morghen (See: Rovinski, Dictionary, vol. 3, p. 1918/19).

Another portrait, representing Countess Skavronska half-length, her arms resting on a cushion, exists in two versions: oval and rectangular and was in the Youssoupoff collection in St. Petersburg; then in Albert Blum collection, New York; now, in the Musée de Louvre, Paris (7a).

Another portrait, bust-length, looking up and wearing a kind of an antique drapery over her hair, was at the Portrait Exhibition of 1870, no. 705, and is shown in the Lushev Album. Present whereabouts of this portrait are unknown, but the catalogue of the exhibition state that it was also painted in Naples in 1790 (7b). Helm in his book on Mme Vigée-Lebrun listed all the replicas on page 208.{7b wasn't published in the article}

8. COUNTESS ECATERINA SERGEEVNA SOMOILOV, née Princess Troubetzkoy (1763-1830) . Painting.

Countess Ecaterina Sergeevna Somoilov

Another niece of Prince Potemkine and a notorious beauty, mentioned by Prince de Ligne in his Memoirs. Full-length, seated, with two of her children. Painted in St. Petersburg in 1790s and engraved by John Walker. Formerly in the collection of Count Bobrinsky and now at the Hermitage, no. 9,626. Number 740 at the Exhibition of 1870; no. 232 at the Taurida Palace Exhibition. Reproduced in Portraits Russes, vol. 5, fig. 2. Listed by the artists as: "Countess Sammakloff, with her children."

9. PRINCESS ANNA ALEXANDROVNA GALITZINE, née Princess Grudzinsky. By her first marriage Mme de Litzine (1763-1842) . Painting.

Princess Anna Alexandrovna Galitzine

Signed and dated 1796. Size 53 1/2 x 39 1/2 inches. Known in Russian society as "Princesse Boris" and listed by the artist as "Princesse Bauris, three-quarter length." Counted erroneously twice in Helm's book on Mme Vigée-Lebrun as "Princess Anna Galitzine" and "Princess Bauris." Taurida Palace Exhibition, no. 247. Now at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

10. PRINCESS ECATERINA NIKOLAEVNA MENSHIKOVA, née Princess Galitzine (1764-1832). Painting.

Princess Ecaterina Nikolaevna Menshikova

Famous beauty. Painted in St. Petersburg in 1796. Size 52 x 38 inches. Listed by the artist as: "Princesse Mentchikoff, jusqu'à mi-jambe, tenant son enfant." ["… to mid-calf, holding her child."] Exhibition of 1870, no. 747. Taurida Palace Exhibition, no. 252. Reproduced in Portraits Russes, vol. 3, fig. 46. Formerly in the collection of Prince N. N. Gagarine in St. Petersburg. Present whereabouts unknown. Was also portrayed by Anton Graff.

11, 11a. COUNTESS ANNA SERGEEVNA STROGANOV, née Princess Troubetzkoy (1765-1824) . Two paintings.

Countess Anna Sergeevna Stroganov

Sister of another of Mme Vigée-Lebrun's sitter, Princess Somoilov (Cat. 8), and wife of Baron and later Count Grigory Stroganov (Cat. 58), Russian Ambassador in Constantinople. Painted twice, but listed only once
Countess Anna Sergeevna Stroganov
as "Countess Stroganoff, with her child." It also can relate to another Countess Stroganov (Sofia, cat. No 27), also painted with her child in her arms. This portrait is now at the Hermitage, no. 7,585 (fig. 11).

Another portrait, depicted in the Memoirs of Mme Vigée-Lebrun as "arrangeant des fleurs dans le vase" was painted in Vienna in 1793 (11a). Signed and dated, size 37 1/2 x 29 3/4 inches. This portrait was at the Taurida Palace Exhibition, no. 249, and is reproduced in Portraits Russes, vol. 5, fig. 31. Formerly in the collection of Mme M. P. Rodzianko in St. Petersburg, it was later in an American collection and was sold by Parke-Bernet in 1944. Present whereabouts difficult to trace. There is a miniature, painted after this portrait by Nanette Rosenzweig-Windish, which belongs now to the Collection of The A. Jay Fink Foundation, at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

12. COUNTESS VARVARA NIKOLAEVNA GOLOVINE, née Princess Galitzine (1766-1821) . Painting.

Countess Varvara Nikolaevna Golovine

Listed by the artist as "Countess Golovin, one hand showing" and reproduced in Pierre de Nolhac's book on Mme Vigée-Lebrun, facing p. 154. At this time (1908) the portrait was in the Lanskoronsky collection in Vienna. Present whereabouts unknown. [Now at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham, England.] Princess Golovine was an intelligent and gifted woman, herself a painter and engraver, and a close friend of Mme Vigée-Lebrun. She left interesting memoirs, published in Russian.

13. PRINCESS PRASKOVIA ANDREEVNA GALITZINE, née Countess Shouvalov (1767-1868) . Painting.

Listed by the artist as "Princess Michael Golitzin" and mentioned in the Memoirs of Mme Vigée-Lebrun as "moins belle que la Princesse Dolgorouky, mais plus jolie." ["Less beautiful than the Dolgorouky Princess, but prettier."] No description, or reproductions seem to be in existence. Helm in his book (page 198) lists it as: "Bust. Large. St. Petersburg, 1795-1801."

14. COUNTESS IRINA IVANOVNA VORONTZOV, née Izmailov (1768-1848) . Painting.

Countess Irina Ivanovna Vorontzov

Sister of the celebrated Princess Galitzine, the so-called "Princess de Minuit" (Cat. 36). Painted in St. Petersburg in 1797. Listed as "Countess Voranxoff." No. 734 of the Exhibition of 1870; no. 251 at the Taurida Palace Exhibition. Reproduced in Portraits Russes, vol. 4, fig. 107. Present whereabouts unknown. Before the revolution was in the possession of Count I. I. Vorontzov-Dashkov in St. Petersburg.

15. COUNTESS ECATERINA VLADIMIROVNA APRAXINE, née Princess Galitzine (1768-1854) . Painting.

Famous beauty, surnamed "Venus en Courroux." ["Angry Venus."] Painted in St. Petersburg, signed and dated 1796. Listed by Mme Vigée-Lebrun as "Comtesse Apraxine. Grand buste" (Helm: p. 187, "Head and shoulders"), which seems to be strange because the reproduction of the portrait in Portraits Russes, vol. 1, fig. 155, shows the Countess three-quarter length, seated on a divan. It corresponds to the description of this portrait given by Prince Tcherbatoff, in his book, An Artist in Bygone Russia, published in New York in 1950s. Before the revolution this portrait was in his collection in Moscow. At the Taurida Palace Exhibition, no. 237. Present whereabouts unknown.

16. PRINCESS NATALIA IVANOVNA KOURAKINE, née Princess Golovine (1768-1831) . Painting.

Wife of Prince Alexey Kourakin (Cat. 51). Talented musician and singer. Had a salon in Paris in 1815 and left an interesting diary. Close friend and correspondent of Mme Vigée-Lebrun. Listed as "Princesse Alexey Kurakin and her husband" (who was portrayed separately). No descriptions or reproductions to trace, but in her Diary, written in French and published by Prince Th. A. Kourakin in 1903, the Princess states that her portrait by Mme Vigée-Lebrun had been engraved by the artist's pupil Emilie Benoist (1767-1826) in 1818.

17. PRINCESS TATIANA VASSILIEVNA YOUSSOUPOV, née Engelhardt, Princess Potemkine in her first marriage (1769-1841) . Painting.

Princess Tatiana Vassilievna Youssoupov

Another niece of Prince Potemkine and sister of Countess Skavronska (Cat. 7). Famous beauty, but contrary to her sister, very intelligent. Painted in St. Petersburg, signed and dated 1797. Listed by the artist as "Princess Isoupoff." Size 54 3/4 x 41 inches. No. 257 at the Taurida Palace Exhibition. Reproduced in Portraits Russes, vol. 1, fig. 46. Formerly in the collection of Prince Youssoupov in St. Petersburg.

18, 18a. PRINCESS ECATERINA FEDOROVNA DOLGOROUKY, née Princess Bariatinsky (1769-1849) . Two paintings.

Princess Ecaterina Fedorovna Dolgorouky

Painted in St. Petersburg in 1796-1797 as "Sibyl". Not listed but described enthusiastically in the artist's Memoirs. Celebrated beauty. At the Taurida Palace Exhibition, no. 231. Helm in his book on Mme Vigée-Lebrun (p. 194) describes the portrait of Countess Golovine as that of Princess Dologorouky. Now in the State Museum-Palace (formerly Vorontzov Palace) in Alupka, Crimea. Another version (reproduced above) is in a private collection, Great Britain.

Varvara Ivanovna Narishkine
19. VARVARA IVANOVNA NARISHKINE, née Ladomirsky (177?-1840) . Painting.

Painted in Moscow in 1801. Signed and dated. Not listed by the artist, but referred to in the Memoirs as a portrait of "Countess Stroganov's daughter" (see: note 6). No. 735 at the Exhibition of 1870 and described in the catalogue. This is the portrait which was erroneously presented as that of the young Princess Tufiakin at the Cintas Collection Sale. Canvas, 24 1/4 x 21 3/4 inches. Waist-length, full-face. Now at the Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, Columbus, Ohio.

20. ALEXANDRA GRIGORIEVNA KOSITZKY (1772-18??) . Painting.

Daughter of the Councellor Kositzky. Later married Count Laval. Painted in St. Petersburg between 1795 and 1800. Listed as "Mlle Kasisky." No. 733 at the Exhibition of 1870. No. 230 at the Taurida Palace Exhibition. Canvas, 26 1/4 x 21 [inches]. Waist-length. No description or reproduction found. Present whereabouts unknown.

21. COUNTESS MARIA FEDOROVNA POTOCKA, née Princess Lubomirska, later Countess Zoubov and Countess Uvarov (1773-1810) . Painting.

Countess Maria Fedorovna Potocka

[The photo wasn't published in the article.] Painted in St. Petersburg in 1795. Listed as "Countess Potocka, with dove, reclining." Commented on also as "one of the prettiest women I ever painted." Celebrated beauty and dancer.

Married Count Valerian Zoubov, brother of Catherine the Great's favorite, and later Count Uvarov. This portrait was presented at the Exhibition of 1870 under the number 728 as that of Countess Zoubov although Mme Vigée-Lebrun had painted her while she was still Countess Potocka. Mme de Voto Collection, U.S.A.


Princess Anna Grigorievna Belosselsky-Belozersky

Sister of the sitter listed above under number 20. Wife of the Russian Ambassador in Dresden and Turin. Painted in St. Petersburg, signed and dated 1797. No. 230 at the Taurida Palace Exhibition as "Mlle Kositzky," no. 1,767. Not listed by Mme Vigée-Lebrun. Canvas, 30 1/2 x 26 1/4 inches. The Exhibition of Russian Portraits, shown by the Blue Cross in St. Petersburg in 1902, lists another portrait of "Princesse Belozersky" signed and dated 1788. The name is not among the sitters of this year listed by the artist. The Catalogue does not reproduce the portrait.

The above-described original portrait, dated 1797, is in the collection of Mrs. G. A. Rentschler, U.S.A. [Now at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.]

23, 23a. COUNTESS ANNA IVANOVNA TOLSTOY, née Princess Bariatinsky (1774-1825) . Painting.

Painted between 1795 and 1801 in St. Petersburg and listed as "Countess Tolstoy, leaning against a rock, near a cascade." In Helm's book the three-quarter length is indicated. The portrait was not shown at the Taurida Palace Exhibition and was probably never reproduced. Countess Tolstoy is also mentioned in Mme Vigée-Lebrun's Memoirs as "Belle et bonne, l'amie de la Comtesse Golovine" ["Beautiful and good, the friend of the Countess Golovine"]. The description of her portrait coincides with that of Princess Pelagie Sapieha, also painted in the same attitude in St. Petersburg. However, Mme Vigée-Lebrun, listing the portrait of Princess Sapieha among those done in Russia, gives a different description as "dancing, with tambour." She must have painted this lovely Polish woman twice. The portrait of Countess Tolstoy seems to be lost.

24. PRINCESS ALEXANDRA PETROVNA GALITZINE, née Protassov (1774-1842) . Painting.

Princess Alexandra Petrovna Galitzine

Painted in St. Petersburg in 1796, three-quarter length, seated, with her little nephew in her arms. Not listed or mentioned in the Memoirs. Canvas, 54 1/4 x 46 inches. No. 731 at the Exhibition of 1870; 247 at the Taurida Palace Exhibition. Reproduced in Portraits Russes, vol. 2, fig. 24. At this time in the collection of Prince A. Galitzine in Moscow. Present whereabouts unknown. [Now in Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, per our information.]

25. NATALIA ZAHAROVNA KOLYTCHEV, née Hitrovo (1774-1803) . Painting.

Natalia Zaharovna Kolytchev

Natalia Zaharovna Kolytchev

Painted in St. Petersburg and listed as "Mme Kalitcheff." Was not at the Portrait Exhibitions. Reproduced in Portraits Russes, vol. 4, fig. 115. Formerly Hitrovo collection, St. Petersburg. Private collection, U.S.A. [The second figure is not mentioned by vlb or by Nikolenko.]

26, 26a. COUNTESS ALEXANDRA ANDREEVNA SHOUVALOV, later Countess Diedrichstein (1775-1847) . Two paintings.

Painted twice and listed as "Young Countess Schouvaloff, half-length" and as "Countess Driedrichstein and her husband." Mme Vigée-Lebrun states in her Memoirs that she painted the portrait of Count Diedrichstein, the Austrian Ambassador in St. Petersburg, in 1796. He married the young Countess Shouvalov in 1797. Helm in his book gives the description of one of the portraits, probably still before the marriage to Count Diedrichstein, as "Painted in St. Petersburg, 1795-1801." (It could be only dated 1795-1796). Canvas, 25 1/4 x 21 1/2 [inches]. At about fifteen years old. Powdered hair tied with a ribbon. Satin dress. Muff and stole of tiger-skin. At this time the portrait was in the Lanskoronski Collection in Vienna. The Catalogue of the Exhibition of Portraits entitled Russian Woman in Engravings and Lithographs, published in 1911, with the text by Baron N. Wrangell, mentions under the number 179 an engraving after a portrait of Countess Shouvalov-Diedrichstein, full-length, seated on a divan, her left arm posed on its back. The name of the artist is not given, but the description shows a very familiar type of representation. Both portraits seem never to have been reproduced and their present whereabouts are unknown.

Countess Sofia Vladimirovna Stroganov
27. COUNTESS SOFIA VLADIMIROVNA STROGANOV, née Princess Galitzine (1775-1843) . Painting.

Wife of Count Paul Alexandrovich Stroganov (Cat. 61). Painted in St. Petersburg in 1790s. Listed as "Countess Stroganoff, with her child." Reproduced in Portraits Russes, vol. 5, fig. 27. Formerly Stroganoff Collection, St. Petersburg. [Now in Pushkin Museum, Moscow.]

28. PRINCESS ECATERINA OSSIPOVNA TUFIAKIN, née Khorvat (1777-1802) . Painting.

Daughter of the Governor of Ecaterinoslav and wife of Prince Peter Tufiakin (not Alexis as Mme Vigée-Lebrun says in her Memoirs). Young girl whose beauty attracted the attention of the artist during her stay in Moscow, married Prince Tufiakin in 1801 and died a year later. Listed as "Princess Tufiakin" among portrait done at Paris after returning. Seems to be lost.

29. COUNTESS ANNA IVANOVNA ORLOV, née Soltykov (1777-1842) . Painting.

Daughter of Marshal Soltykov, Governor of Moscow, whose portrait Mme Vigée-Lebrun also painted (Cat. 47), married Count Grigory Vladimirovich Orlov in February 1800 and was painted in Moscow in 1801. Listed as "Countess Orloff" and is mentioned in the Memoirs. She was an attractive and intelligent woman and had a literary salon in Paris in 1815. She died in France. It is very possible that she took her portrait to Paris where it later lost its identity. No reproductions or descriptions can be traced.

30. AGLAE ANONOVNA DAVYDOV, née duchesse de Grammont . Painting.

French beauty married to a Russian general. Her portrait was probably begun in Russia and finished in France because it is listed under those "done at Paris after returning" (à Paris Mme Davidoff, avec la main") ["with the hand {showing}"]. The miniature, done after this portrait, and reproduced in Poushkine, by Brockhaus and Ephron, shows that Mme Davydov was painted in a simple empire dress and a lace bonnet of a young matron. Present whereabouts unknown.

Daria Michailovna Opotchinine
31. DARIA MICHAILOVNA OPOTCHININE, née Princess Koutousov-Smolensky (1778-1845) . Painting.

Daughter of the famous Field-Marshal. Painted in St. Petersburg in 1801. Signed and dated. Oval, 27 x 21 inches. Not listed or mentioned in the Memoirs. No. 236 at the Taurida Palace Exhibition. At this time in the Touchkoff Collection. Later, Curzon Sale (Anon. Coll.)., Christie, 10 July 1931, bought by Smith. Northbrook Sale (Anon. Coll.), Christie, 11, June 1937, no. 65 (Erroneously called Mlle Patchininia, niece of the Field-Marshal Koutousov.)

32, 32a, b, c, d, e. GRAND DUCHESS ELISAVETA ALEXEEVNA, later Empress of Russia, consort of Alexander I (1779-1826) . Paintings and pastel.

Grand Duchess Elisaveta Alexeevna
Grand Duchess Elisaveta Alexeevna
Grand Duchess Elisaveta Alexeevna

Painted in St. Petersburg in 1795-1801. Three portraits are listed by the artist: 1) Full-length, arranging flowers in a basket. This portrait was at the Taurida Palace Exhibition, no. 250 and is now at the Hermitage; 2) Half-length copies of the same. [Not shown in the original article.]

3) Half-length pictures of her, one hand showing, leaning on a cushion, with a diaphanous violet wrap (fig. 32b). These portraits are the best known and one of the versions of them is now at Montpellier (c. 30 3/4 x 24 3/4 [inches]). It has also been engraved by John Walker (Rovinski, vol. 2, pp. 914-917). Another version is in a private collection, Paris; and a replica at the Hermitage.

The catalogue of the Taurida Palace Exhibition mentions also two signed pastels, nos. 227 and 229. Another bust-length pastel portrait of the young Empress was taken by Mme Vigée-Lebrun to Dresden. [Not shown in the article, this oil may have been prepared in Dresden from one of the pastels mentioned.]

33. ELISAVETA ALEXANDROVNA DEMIDOV, née Baroness Stroganov (1779-1818) . Painting.

Elisaveta Alexandrovna Demidov

Painted in St. Petersburg between 1795 and 1801. Listed as "Mme Dimidoff" and mentioned in the Memoirs. Not mentioned in any of the known catalogues. A miniature (fig. 33), reproduced in Portraits Russes, vol. 1, fig 100, was possibly done after this portrait, now lost.

34. PRINCESS MARIA VASSILIEVNA KOTCHUBEY, née Princess Vassiltchikov (1779-1844) . Painting.

Not listed or mentioned in the Memoirs, but the portrait is still at the Hermitage. No. 234 at the Taurida Palace Exhibition describes is as "occupée à dessiner" ["a painter by occupation."] Reproduced in Starye Gody, 1911, July-September. This charming and intelligent woman, wife of a diplomat, was also portrayed by Gérard.

35. VERA PETROVNA VASSILTCHIKOV, née Protassov (1780-1814) . Painting.

Painted in St. Petersburg between 1795 and 1801. Not listed or mentioned in the Memoirs. No. 737 of the Exhibition of 1870 gives the description of this portrait as "Sibyl" (probably because she wears a turban and is seated in a landscape) and attributes it to the Italian School. Reproduced in Portraits Russes, vol. 3, fig 204. She converted to Catholicism, died young, and her husband promptly married again. The portrait belonged to Prince S. I. Vassiltchikov, St. Petersburg.

36. 36a. PRINCESS EUDOCIA IVANOVNA GALITZINE, née Izmailov (1780-1850) . Two paintings.

Princess Eudocia Ivanovna Galitzine

The celebrated "Princesse de Minuit" or "Princesse Nocturne" ["Princess of Midnight" or "Princess of the Night."] Painted in St. Petersburg, signed and dated "à Petersbourg, 1799". C. 136 x 998 cm. No. 254 at the Taurida Palace Exhibition (fig.). A miniature after this portrait was shown at the Exhibition of 1870, no. 531. Formerly in the Stroganoff Collection. Sold at Berlin, 1931 (see: Stroganoff Sale Catalogue, Lepke, Berlin, 12-13 May, 1931, no. 88, reproduced). A version of this portrait, slightly changed in costume and background, was sold in Paris in 1928 by Brunner. At this time it came from the collection of Mme Rodzianko. Present whereabouts of both portraits are unknown. [Now in the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. The version "slightly changed" is now believed to be a very similar portrait of Julie LeBrun, owned by the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida.]

37, 37a. GRAND DUCHESS ANNA FEDOROVNA, consort of Grand Duke Constantine (1780-1860) . Two paintings.

Grand Duchess Anna Fedorovna

Painted in St. Petersburg, 1795-1796. Listed as "La Grande Duchesse Anne. Deux portraits à mi-corps" ["two portraits, half length."] Also mentioned in the Memoirs. One of these portraits, showing Grand Duchess Anna wrapped in a red shawl and wearing a little red cap with a plume, was in the Ducal Palace in Gotha (fig.). [Destroyed by bombs in World War II, according to Baillio, 1982.] She must have taken it with her when she left Russia after her divorce from the Grand Duke. The whereabouts of the second portrait are unknown. The portrait of her, reproduced in Portraits Russes, vol. 5, fig. 1, is wrongly attributed to Mme Vigée-Lebrun and rightly ascribed to Borovikovsky by Baron Wrangell.


Grand Duchess Alexandra Pavlovna and Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna

Painted together in St. Petersburg, in 1795-1797. No. 260 at the Taurida Palace Exhibition. Now at the Hermitage. The Inventory, compiled after the death of Mme Vigée-Lebrun, mentions among the portraits that of "enfants de Catherine" (?). Only these two youthful grand-daughters, perhaps sketched in pastel, could be mistakenly interpreted as "children" of the Empress Catherine.

39. ECATERINA MICHAILOVNA POTEMKINE, later Countess Ribeaupierre (1788-1829) . Painting.

Daughter of Princess Tatania Youssoupov (Cat. 17) who was first married to her cousin, Potemkine. Listed as "Daughter of Princess Isoupoff" and painted in St. Petersburg between 1795 and 1801, at the age from seven to eleven. It is undoubtedly the same person who is listed as "Young Princess Potemski, half-length" among the portraits "done in Paris, after returning." Helm in his book (page 216) lists: "Potemski (Princess?) A girl, 3/4 length, 1802-1805." This may be the date the portrait was finished. No reproduction available and the whereabouts of the portrait were never mentioned.

40. COUNTESS PRASKOVIA NIKOLAEVNA GOLOVINE, later Countess Maximilian Fredro (1790-18??) . Painting.

Countess Praskovia Nikolaevna Golovine

[Not illustrated in original article.] Painted in St. Petersburg as a child, in an oval, with a dove in her hand. She was the daughter of Mme Vigée-Lebrun's friend and sitter, Countess Varvara Golovine (Cat. 12). Not listed or mentioned in Russian Sources. Reproduced in Portrety Polskie Elzbiety Vigée-Lebrun, by Jerzy Mycielski and Stanislav Wasylewski, 1927. Countess Fredro left Russia when still a child and lived in Austria. It is possible that the portrait was taken to Vienna and remained unknown in Russia. [Baillio says this portrait is not by vlb.]

41. COUNTESS NATALIA PAVLOVNA STROGANOV, later Countess Stroganov (1796-1872) . Pastel.

Pastel, signed and dated. No. 199g at the Taurida Palace Exhibition. She was the daughter of two of Mme Vigée-Lebrun's friends and sitters, Count Paul and Countess Sofia Stroganov (Cat. 61 and 27). Was not older than four or five years at this time. Helm marks this pastel on page 221 as "A child. Head and shoulders. White frock." Present whereabouts unknown and no reproductions in existence. Not mentioned by Mme Vigée-Lebrun.


Alexandra Alexandrovna Bibikov

C. 43 x 32 1/4 inches. Young woman, seated against a landscape. Emerald green turban, dark blue dress, red cloak.

Coll. Of Ivan Apollonovich Bibikov. Coll. Of Prince Boris Sergeef (?), member of the Bibikov family. Coll, of N. Laroche, Lyon.

Sold at Parke-Bernet, October 21st, 1959.

Both Helm and Pierre de Nolhac listed this portrait as that of Alexandre Alexandrovich Bibikoff, turning the woman's name of Alexandra Alexandrovna into that of a man, thus obscuring the whole matter.

43. COUNTESS PRASCOVIE MICHAILOVNA TOLSTOY, née Princess Golenichev-Koutouzov (1775-18??) . Painting.

Daughter of Field-Marshall Koutouzov, and of the sitter of the portrait no. 3. Sister of Mme Opotchinine (Cat. 31). Waist-length, wearing a white dress adorned with a blue ribbon and a jeweled monogram pin, holding a greenish mantle about her shoulders; landscape background. Oval, 27 3/4 x 23 inches. Probably painted in Moscow, in1801, when Mme Vigée-Lebrun executed the other two portraits of the wife and another daughter of Prince Koutouzov. In fact, this portrait is an oval and coincides almost exactly with that of Mme Opotchinine, the other sister. The portrait of Countess Tolstoy was in the Collection of Count P. M. Tolstoy, her son; in the Collection of Countess Koutouzov-Tolstoy, her daughter-in-law; in the Collection of Caroline Bichat, Paris; Private Collection, Connecticut, U.S.A. Sold at Parke-Bernet Galleries, in New York, on April 18, 1962. The name of the purchaser was not given, and present whereabouts are unknown.



Signed and dated St. Petersburg, 1797. Not listed by the artist. No. 244 at the Taurida Palace Exhibition. At this time (1905), the portrait was the property of Kiev University.

45. PRINCE A. A. VIAZEMSKY (1727-1793) . Painting.

Prince A. A. Viazemsky

Not listed or mentioned by the artist. Prince Viazemsky was Attorney-General at the time of Catherine II. According to the Catalogue of the Exhibition of 1870, no. 361, this portrait was painted in France in 1776. Signed, waist-length, size 35 x 26 1/4 inches. Known through the engravings which are hard to trace. No. 360 of the same Catalogue lists a copy after this portrait. No. 2,092 at the Taurida Palace Exhibition. The portrait of Prince Viazemsky, reproduced in Portraits Russes, vol. 4, fig. 6, calls the artist "Anonymous" and states its provenance as from the Archives of the Foreign Office, St. Petersburg.

46. COUNT IVAN IVANOVICH SHOUVALOV (1727-1797) . Painting.

Count Ivan Ivanovich Shouvalov

One of the most outstanding men of his time, founder of Moscow University and of the Russian Academy of Art. Painted in 1775 in Paris and mentioned by Mme Vigée-Lebrun in her Memoirs. Also listed under those done in 1775.

The Catalogue of the Exhibition of 1870 mentions a copy after this portrait painted by Shibanov in 1784. Formerly in Lanckoronsky Collection, Vienna. Now at the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, N.C.


Governor of Moscow. Painted there in 1801, signed and dated. Listed by the artist. Catalogue of the Exhibition of 1870, no. 715, does not give the name of the artist, but indicates it as waist-length, 35 x 26 1/4 inches. No. 245 at the Taurida Palace Exhibition. Present whereabouts unknown.


Famous champion of Catherine the Great. Painted in St. Petersburg (or Moscow), between 1795 and 1801. Not listed by the artist, but mentioned in the Memoirs as "the notorious Count Orloff, one of Peter the Third's assassins." He came to see the young, but already famous artist in Paris in 1770s, and amazed her by his "stature of a giant." The portrait was presented at the so-called Blue Cross Exhibition of Russian Portraits which was shown in St. Petersburg in 1902, under number 33. Bust-length, 13 1/2 x 11 inches. Formerly in the Olive Collection, St. Petersburg. Present whereabouts unknown. There is also a copy of it.


President of the Imperial Academy of Art and head of the Commission for the Building of Khazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg. He lived long enough to be present at its consecration. Not listed but mentioned in the Memoirs as "…Count Stroganov, a true lover of arts, whose portrait I have painted in Paris in my early youth." No reproductions can be traced. Present whereabouts unknown. [The Stroganoff Family website has a portrait of this sitter, though we are waiting infomration as to whether this is the portrait by vlb.]

50, 50A. PRINCE ALEXANDER BORISSOVICH KOURAKIN (1752-1818) . Two paintings.

Prince Alexander Borissovich Kourakin

Prince Alexander Borissovich Kourakin

The famous "Diamond Prince," well-known for the ostentatious display of his wealth. Vice Chancellor of Paul I; Ambassador of the Court of Vienna under Alexander I. Mme Vigée-Lebrun painted him twice in St. Petersburg but listed him only once as "Prince Alexander Kurakin, half-length." No. 241 at the Taurida Palace Exhibition. Engraved by John Walker in 1798 (see: Rovinski, v. 2, p. 1,147). Formerly in the Olive Collection in St. Petersburg. Reproduced in Starye Gody, Jan.-June, 1916, and in Starye Portrety, by Sergey Ernst, facing page 16. Now at the Hermitage.


Younger brother of Prince Alexander. Attorney-General under Paul I; Secretary of Domestic Affairs under Alexander I; Chancellor of Capitular Orders of the Russian Empire under Nicholas I. Listed by the artist together with the portrait of his wife (Cat. 16). No. 242 at the Taurida Palace Exhibition. Unfortunately this catalogue was not illustrated and the portraits were published as post-cards, extremely rare to find. A small photograph in the Lushev Album, done for the Exhibition of 1870 (p. 41, no. 318) shows Prince Kourakin in a familiar pose with one elbow over the back of a chair, wearing a hermine cloak and a powdered wig, which may be his official garb of Attorney-General since Mme Vigée-Lebrun painted him at the time he was in office and dated the portrait 1799, the reign of Paul I. But, since the Catalogue of 1870 does not give the name of the artist, there is no definitive proof of her authorship.


The only information on this portrait, not listed or mentioned by the artist, is the Catalogue of 1870, no. 716, giving it as a copy done by Remezov. No other data can be found. Size 28 1/4 x 21 inches.

53. LEV ALEXANDROVICH NARISHKINE (1785-1846?) . Painting.

The Catalogue of 1870, no. 652, describes it as "bust-length, painted by Mme Le Brune." Canvas, 22 3/4 x 21 inches. However, the photograph in the Lushev Album gives a different date of birth and death of Narishkine (1733-1799) and does not mention the name of the artist. No other information available. In her Memoirs, Mme Vigée-Lebrun mentions a hospitable Prince Narishkine, but does not say anything about having painted his portrait. It might also have been another member of this large and well-known family.

Note: Narishkine never had any title because they refused it, considering themselves equal to the Romanov family, since Peter the Great's mother was born a Narishkine. Foreigners usually called them Princes.

54, 54a. COUNT GRIGORY IVANOVICH TCHERNYSHEV (1762-1838) . Two paintings.

Count Grigory Ivanovich Tchernyshev
Painted in Vienna in 1793-1794 and listed as "Count Czernicheff, in black domino." No. 228 at the Taurida Palace Exhibition; now at the Hermitage (fig.). Ther is a smaller version of this portrait.

55, 55a. COUNT YOULIY POMPEEVICH LITTA (1763-1839) . Two paintings.

Count Youliy Pompeevich Litta

Grand Master of the Order of Knights of Malta. Of Italian origin, he entered the Russian Service and married the beautiful Countess Skavronska, also painted by the artist (Cat.7). Painted twice, at Naples in 1790, listed as "Bailiff Litta" and later in St. Petersburg, signed and dated 1796. No. 239 at the Taurida Palace Exhibition, canvas 31 1/2 x 26 inches. In 1888, one of these portraits belonged to Princess Mathilde and was at "L'Exposition de l'Art français sous Louis XIV et Louis XV au profit de l'Hospitalité de Nuit" in Paris. It is mentioned in Pierre de Nolhac's book with wrong initials, E. V. Litta. Present whereabouts of both portraits unknown and no reproductions available. [Note: The sketch of this sitter was found in one of vlb's sketchbooks.]

56. ALEXANDER ALEXANDROVICH BIBIKOV. (1765-1829) . Painting.

General, Ambassador, and later Senator. Not listed by the artist. No. 233 at the Taurida Palace Exhibition. At this time Baron Wrangell expressed his doubt that the sitter was Bibikov, but did not suggest any other name.

57, 57a. PRINCE IVAN IVANOVICH BARIATINSKY (1772-1825) . Two paintings.

Prince Ivan Ivanovich Bariatinsky

Prince Ivan Ivanovich Bariatinsky

Prince Ivan Ivanovich Bariatinsky

Was painted twice and both portraits were presented at the Taurida Palace Exhibition, nos. 235 and 246. One of these portraits (fig.) is reproduced in Portraits Russes, vol. 4, fig. 16. At the Exhibition of 1870, the same portrait was wrongly attributed to Levitzky. Not listed or mentioned by the artist who was a close friend of the Bariatinsky family. Formerly belonged to Prince A. V. Bariatinsky. [The second and third portraits shown hadn't been published by Nikolenko.vlb listed a portrait done in London, 1803-05, thus the dates are uncertain.]

58, 58a. COUNT GRIGORY ALEXANDROVICH STROGANOV (1769-1857) . Two paintings.

Count Grigory Alexandrovich Stroganov

Baron and later Count Stroganov. Diplomat. Was portrayed twice and listed under those "done at Vienna" as "Count Stroganoff, half-length" and "The same, hands showing." Signed and dated "à Vienne, 1793," oval, 92 x 66 inches (fig.) Hermitage collection, no. 5,658. There is a miniature after this portrait in the Collection of the A. Jay Fink Foundation, Baltimore Museum of Art.


Prince Sergey Sergeevich Gagarine

Director of the Imperial Theatres. Not listed by the artist. Painted in 1801. Reproduced in Portraits Russes, vol. 5, fig. 190. Present whereabouts unknown. At the beginning of this century was in the collection of Prince V. Gagarine, Moscow.


Baron Alexander Sergeevich Stroganov,/A>

Listed among those done in Russia as "Baron Stroganoff." Reproduced in Portraits Russes, vol. 5, fig. 28. Was in Stroganov collection, St. Petersburg.


Count Paul Alexandrovich Stroganov

Friend and close associate of Alexander I. Grand Duke Nicholas Michailovich dedicated to him his book Le Comte Paul Stroganov, 1905. Painted in St. Petersburg between 1795 and 1801. In her list, Mme Vigée-Lebrun mentions "Count Stroganoff, half-length," while the reproduction in the Grand Duke Nicholas' book shows a knee-length representation. Helm in his book, page 221, lists all replicas of Count Stroganov's portraits.

62. COUNT PAUL ANDREEVICH SHOUVALOV (1777-1823) . Painting.

General and a hero of the war against Napoleon. One of the four emissaries who escorted the Emperor into exile on the Island of Elba. No. 248 at the Taurida Palace Exhibition, Helm in his book mistakes the portrait of Count I. I. Shouvalov (Cat. 46) (now at Raleigh, N.C.) for that of Count Paul, the present whereabouts of which are unknown.

63. ALEXANDER I, EMPEROR OF RUSSIA (1777-1821) . Paintings and pastels.

Mme Vigée-Lebrun writes in her Memoirs as follows: "Le surlendemain, le comte Stroganoff vint chez moi de la part de l'empereur qui me commandait de faire son portrait en buste et son portrait à cheval. Me sentant hors d'état de commencer le portrait en pied, je pris le parti de faire au pastel le buste de l'empereur et celui de l'impératrice; ils devaient me servir plus tard à faire les portraits en grand, soit à Dresde, soit à Berlin." ["Two days later, the count Stroganoff came to my home on behalf of the emperor who comissioned to make his portrait in bust and his portrait with horse. Feeling out-of-state to begin the full-length portrait, I instead made a pastel bust of the emperor and the impératrice; they were to be used later to make the large portraits, either in Dresden, or in Berlin."] Note I (ibid.) says: "Je fais à Dresde plusieurs grands bustes d'Alexandre, d'après ces pastels, mais M. de Krudener les ayant emportés par mer trop frais encore, ils ont souffert du voyage." ["I made several large busts of Alexander in Dresden from these pastels, but M. de Krudener brought them back by sea when the paint was still fresh, and they suffered from the journey."] Few of those pastels are mentioned in the Inventory taken after Mme Vigée-Lebrun's death. Rovinski in his Dictionary, vol. 1, p. 44, lists the engravings done after those portraits:

No. 12 - "E. V. Le Brun pinx. (1796-1800), Cazenave sculpt." Reproduced.

No. 14 - From another original by Le Brun, "dessiné par Buguet, d'après Mlle Le Brun."

No. 15 - Again "Mlle Le Brun pinx. - W. Van Senus sculpts."

Did Alexander I also pose for Mme Vigée-Lebrun's daughter, who was a mediocre painter? Or did she make sketches while her mother painted him?

Private Collection, U.S.A.


Listed as "Her son" after the portrait of "Princess Issoupoff." Probably a boy's portrait. No other information obtainable.

65. PRINCE BARIATINSKY (?-?) . Painting.

Listed as "Young Prince Bariatinsky" among portraits "done in Russia." Among those done in England, there is another mention of "Prince Bariatinsky," and Helm, page 187, marks it London, 1802-1805. It must have been one of the children of Prince Ivan Bariatinsky, who was painted in Russia. No additional information available. [vlb refers to Prince Ivan Bariatinsky as "young," and thus Nikolenko probably errs by thinking this reference is to a son of his.]

66. COUNT TOLSTOY (possibly Alexander or Emmanuel) . Painting.

Both were sons of the lovely Countess Tolstoy whose portrait by Mme Vigée-Lebrun, representing her "leaning against the rock, near a cascade" (Cat. 23) seems to be lost. She lived later in Paris where Mme Vigée-Lebrun might have painted one of her sons. Not listed by the artist. Was at the Salon Exhibition in Paris in 1824. Present whereabouts unknown.


Miniature signed at the bottom right E. Vigée-Lebrun. Diam., 7 cm. See: Catalogue of "L'Exposition centennale de l'Art Français à Petrogard en 1912," no. 956. Sale Drouot, Paris, April 1919. No additional information available.

Until the present this is all that can be gathered about Mme Vigée-Lebrun's Russian portraits, several of which are possibly still in existence, with unknown or mistaken identity.

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