Anne Vallayer-Coster’s Portrait of a Violinist is the latest addition to Nationalmuseum’s collection of 18th-century French painting. Considered one of the artist’s masterpieces, this genre work is believed to portray one of her sisters. Painted in 1773, three years after Vallayer was elected to the French academy of art, the work has many artistic virtues. Anne Vallayer (1744–1818) was elected to the French academy of art at the age of just 26. This was a remarkable event at the time, given the artist’s youth and the fact that she was a woman in a male-dominated institution, and an unmarried woman at that. There is no indication that Vallayer enjoyed royal patronage, but she did not lack for mentors in the ranks of the academy. Claude-Joseph Vernet, a landscape painter, had been her teacher. It was as a painter of still lifes that she was elected to the academy. Nationalmuseum already

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