Maurice-Quentin de La Tour (Saint-Quentin 1704–1788 Saint-Quentin)
Anne-Marguerite Perrinet de Longuefin, Madame Rouillé, ca. 1738
Pastel on laid paper
24 1/4 × 19 1/2 in. (618 × 495 mm)
Promised Gift from the Collection of Elizabeth and Jean-Marie Eveillard
Photo Joseph Coscia Jr.
Anne-Marguerite Perrinet de Longuefin (1698–1795) was the daughter of a wine merchant from the Sancerre region. In 1716, she married Pierre-Jean Rouillé, a marchand mercier (dealer in decorative arts and luxury fabrics). La Tour portrays her as an intellectual, surrounded by books. She wears a red velvet coat, trimmed in fur, described at the time as a “Polish mantle,” a garment popularized in France in the second half of the eighteenth century by Queen Maria Leszczyńska, who was Polish. La Tour exhibited this pastel in the Grand Salon of the Louvre, at the annual show of works by artists from the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, between August 18 and September 10, 1738.
Curator's Personal Reflection
Speaker: Xavier F. Salomon, Deputy Director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator
When it comes to pastels, Maurice-Quentin de La Tour pushed the medium to new heights. Not only was he a master at depicting textures of fabrics and materials, but he also meticulously explored the psychology of his sitters. When facing a La Tour pastel portrait, it is as if you are encountering a person. We know so little about Madame Rouillè, other than that she was the daughter of a wine merchant. Was she interested in books and literature, or is she simply posed as an intellectual? To me, the portrait suggests a cleverness and a voracious intellect, but also the delicacy and slight acidity of a good glass of Sancerre wine.