Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725-1805)
Head and Shoulders of a Young Woman, oil on canvas.
Greuze was a French painter and draughtsman noted for paintings that include genre scenes, portraits and studies of expressive heads. Throughout the 1760s he won acclaim with sentimental works. Hoping to gain admission to the academy as a history painter, he submitted a large historical work; when it was rejected, he refused to exhibit anywhere but his own studio for 30 years. He earned a living with morality pictures and images of young women in innocent disarray, but in time his popularity waned. The reaction against his sentimental genre paintings resulted in critical neglect of his drawings and portraits, which display great technical gifts.