Ledoux, Jeanne Philiberte (1767–1840)

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Ledoux, Jeanne Philiberte (1767–1840)

French painter. Born in Paris, in 1767; died in 1840.

What little is known about French painter Jeanne Ledoux comes from salon records, which document that she was one of several women students of Jean Baptiste Greuze (1725–1805), and that she exhibited in the salons held between 1793 and 1819, after which she disappears from public record. According to Ann Harris and Linda Nochlin , the subject matter of Ledoux's paintings also help identify her as Greuze's pupil. "She did not attempt the elaborate moral tales in genre settings for which Greuze is best known," they write. "Instead she exploited the popularity of his head studies of beautiful young women and children, often depicted with animals, whose perfectly rounded features are frequently tinged with melancholy induced by the death of a pet sparrow or the temporary absence of a lover." The titles of two paintings exhibited in the Salon of 1819, Little Girl Holding a Dove and Young Boy near an Apple with a Fistful of Sticks, are indicative of Ledoux's preoccupation with children, as is Portrait of a Boy (Louvre, Paris), a work that exudes the sentiment and idealism found in so much of Greuze's work.

Harris and Nochlin also point out that in her later work, Ledoux adopted a less romantic, more straight-forward style, as evidenced in her Portrait of Greuze (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon), a work based on Greuze's own Self-Portrait. In this painting, Ledoux abandoned formal composition for a more informal sketch. "She uses a rectangular format, simplified his clothing, lightens the tone, and leaves much of his jacket as sketchy underdrawing. The result is a more accessible, human image." In another work, Portrait of a Boy (The Baltimore Museum of Art), painted around 1800, the artist used a more direct technique, making the portrait more intimate than the earlier Louvre portrait.

Since Ledoux never exhibited any large history paintings or portraits of notables, it is assumed that she enjoyed a modest career as a portraitist, catering to a middle-class clientele. Many of her paintings remain with the descendants of her original patrons, thus further complicating efforts to identify and study her oeuvre. In addition, many of her works are not signed or dated, and thus, some may have been mistakenly attributed to the better-known Greuze.


Harris, Ann Sutherland, and Linda Nochlin. Women Artists 1550–1950. Los Angeles County Museum of Art: Knopf, 1976.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts

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Ledoux, Jeanne Philiberte (1767–1840)

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