Sandpaper. Villers

Sandpaper. Villers

Charcoal, eraser, sandpaper on paper
Marie-Denise Villers (1774 – 1821) was born into an artistic family and was a student of the great French painter Jacques-Louis David. The picture from which this portrait is taken was hailed as one of David’s finest portraits for many years and was bought at great expense by the Metropolitan Museum in New York. When the work was found out not to be by David, but a little-known female painter, the value plummeted and critics who had once praised the work suddenly found that its “cleverly concealed weaknesses, its ensemble made up of a thousand subtle artifices, all seem to reveal the feminine spirit.”