Portrait of Marie-Ange-Cécile Langlois
Studio of Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741-1828)
18th century, Plaster
In 1787, Jean-Antoine Houdon exhibited his Head of a Girl at the Salon, identified by Paul Vitry in 1906 as the portrait of his wife, Marie-Ange-Cécile Langlois (1765-1823). Houdon excelled in the art of portraiture, for which he gained an excellent reputation in France and beyond. During his career, he produced portraits of the most famous contemporary artists and intellectuals. He was one of the first European sculptors to work in America, thanks to his friendship with Benjamin Franklin, whose portrait he painted in 1779. Houdon definitely painted the portrait of his future wife after his return from America, on the occasion of their wedding on July 1, 1786 in the church of Saint-Philippe du Roule in Paris. The artist had a predilection for intimate portraits in which he could express his full virtuosity, and often depicted members of his family, as in this work.