French painter. She spent her childhood at the Gobelins, where her father was a goldsmith. Though she thus belonged to artistic circles, when received (reue) by the Acadmie Royale in 1770, on presentation of the still-lifes Attributes of Painting and Musical Instruments (both Paris, Louvre), she was known to have neither a teacher nor an official patron. She managed to get some training from a well-known marine painter, Joseph Vernet, but she picked up still-life
all but on her own. She entered the Royal Academy in her mid-twenties, as precocious as Franois Boucher
had been - and one of only four women before the Revolution.
As a still-life
painter she got Marie-Antoinette s patronage. Despite her closeness to the ancien rgime and France s hated monarch, she survived decades of bloodshed and shifting tastes. In fact, one of Vallayer-Coster s grandest works dates to the end of her life. It also reprises the motifs of her earliest art.
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