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 Louyse Moillon  (1609/10 - 1696)

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Lived/Active: France      Known for: still life and figure painting

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NATURE MORTE AUX PÊCHES DANS UNE COUPE DE PORCELAINE BLEU BLANC MING SUR UN ENTABLEMENT
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Very few women have left a name in the history of painting. Whether through their talent or originality, they suffer a lot from the comparison with male artists.

Louyse (or Louise) Moillon born late 1609 or early 1610 and died in Paris on December 21, 1696 at the age of 86, is perhaps the most famous of them, as she occupies a prominent place in her field - fruit still life - and so her works are sought after.

She came from a large family (seven children) and Protestant artists, Nicolas (1580-September 1, 1619) and Isaac Moillon (July 8, 1614 to May 26, 1673) and more after the remarriage of her mother Mary Gilbert to Francis Garnier (1600-1658) painter as well.  She was married in 1640 to Etienne Girardot, a lumberman Calvinist.  They had no children as mentioned in her will written December 25, 1686.  

Trained in the school of her stepfather, who loved to paint still lives, she gave the aspect of nobility to this style.  She mastered painting still lives perfectly, and sometimes included figures.  It has been questioned, whether it was she who painted the figures.  In the inventory after the death of Denise Dupont (2nd wife of Francis Garnier) it is mentioned "a large painting on canvas, 5 feet long or about, borderless showing fruit in a bowl and other fruit of which Garnier said half was painted by Louyse Moillon, her step daughter.  For another large painting on canvas flat bands in pear-wood to c. 6 ½ feet high and 4 feet wide, depicting a table laden with fruit with a fruit bowl part of the work  was also assigned to Louyse.

This supports the thought that the artist only painted fruits and that the figures could have been made by her stepfather Francis Garnier.

The pictorial work of the artist is divided into two periods that can be classified into early works and works of maturity. The first period ends in 1641 and the second covers the second part of her life. We counted about 70 works, but we believe that other works remain to be discovered. Throughout her life, she remained honest to her pictorial conception and it was only the treatment of the material that evolved. She is part of the great names of painters of still life.  Several works were probably commissioned by prominent figures such as Claude de Bullion superintendent of finances of Louis XIII. The works that were in the background of the castle Wideville.  Others in the collection of Charles 1st of England bear witness to the reputation enjoyed by the painter during her lifetime.

Books:
Louyse Moillon (Paris, Vers 1610-1696).The still life in the great century. Catalogue Raisonne by Dr. Dominique Alsina, 2009 (344 pages, 200 color illustrations)

Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon, notices of the new edition on the painters Isaac and Nicolas Louyse Moillon (forthcoming).

Periodicals:
L'Estampille-l'Objet d'Art, no. 259, June 1992, painting 259 A , p. 83-84.

L'Optimiste, Louyse Moillon or the celebration of taste, no. 1, March 15, 1992, p. 6-7.

L'Estampille-l'Objet d'Art, no. 228, September 1989, painting 228 A, p. 83-84.
 
Collections:
Germany: Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe

Spain: Collection Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Palais Villahermosa 

USA:,  Chicago, The Art Institute; Pasadena, Norton Simon Museum of Art; Michigan, Grand Rapids Art Museum; Washington, The National Museum of Women in the Arts; Los Angeles County Museum

France: The Louvre; Strasbourg, Musée des Beaux-Arts; Toulouse, Musée des Augustins

Information provided by Dr. Dominique Alsina, who wrote his thesis about the artist.

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