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Portrait of a Man Taking Snuff

Numerous French artists had lifelong careers as pastel portrait artists, among them Louis Vigée. His daughter Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun became a successful portrait painter as well. (Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art’s collection also includes a major example of her work, see 75.68.) Louis Vigée captured the likeness of an alert, intelligent older gentleman taking snuff, or powdered tobacco. The large, three-quarter-length format and the amount of detail found in this portrait indicate that the sitter asked Vigée to create the pastel equivalent of a formal painted portrait.

Louis Vigée
French, 1715–1767
Portrait of a Man Taking Snuff
ca. 1750
Pastel on paper
Image/sheet: 28 x 22 1/8 in. (71.1 x 56.2 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Gift of Leland G. Howard, 85.72.1