Film Review: The Fabulous Life of Elisabeth Vigee LeBrun
Today, I watched the film The Fabulous Life of Elisabeth Vigee LeBrun. I’ve spent some time with LeBrun’s work so I was curious to see the documentary.
I was going to finish my current book and write a review about that, but I saw this documentary in my Amazon Prime and thought it'd be a fun watch for today. Especially, because I've had a really cool experience with a LeBrun work. I'll try not to ramble about the experience but in short, I helped get a LeBrun painting from a basement into a museum. While working in an arts non-profit I received a cold call from a family who found an old painting in the basement of the house they just purchased. I had them email me pictures of the signature and all different angles of the painting including the back. The signature, date, and subject all made sense for LeBrun. I worked with our board and our network of art pros to get the painting authenticated and auctioned to a museum in Asia. It was a great experience where I learned a lot about art authentication, conservation, and LeBrun. The painting, before restoration, is pictured above.
The documentary was pretty good. It covered a lot of information in an hour and a half. I like how it balanced the artist's personal life, artistic influences, the political state, and the role of female artists. It gave context to LeBrun's work and provides the viewer with an understanding of the important advancements she developed. It provided some good stories including how she would have male subjects gaze off into the distance instead of at the viewer because she didn't like them suggestively staring at her while she painted, ha ha ha. They also described how she dressed her sitters which I had learned about when studying the found painting.
This documentary is an easy and informative watch. It's short and free through Amazon Prime. The historian comments are informative and the acted scenes are well done. Her story is more inspiration than tragedy which is pleasant.