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Pauline Auzou

1775–1835, Paris

The painter Pauline Desmarquets-Auzou was a pupil of the Classicist Jean-Baptiste Regnault. The artist made her debut at the Paris Salon in 1793 and in the subsequent period acquired quite a reputation, mainly as a painter of historical scenes. Her prestige in this field is remarkable, as women had only limited access to academic instruction in art, and female artists devoted themselves chiefly to portrait and genre painting. Auzou was also active as an art teacher. For about two decades she headed her own private painting school, where mainly female students were trained, while also keeping very busy as an artist. Her sponsors included such illustrious personalities of her day as the Empress Marie-Louise of Habsburg, Napoleon’s second consort, the Duchesse du Berry, and King Louis XVIII. Auzou’s historical scenes are distinguished by their pleasing artistic idiom, with the lovingly observed genre-like details lending the portrayals a feminine grace.