Ludovike Sophie Simanowitz was one of the leading German female portrait painters of her generation.
During the late 18th-century, it was extremely difficult for women to advance their artistic careers via a formal education. Females were forbidden from entering most academies regardless of their talent and potential. However, due to her exceptional early promise and the support of her family, Ludovike Sophie Simanowitz (nee Reichenbach), was fortunate enough to receive private lessons from art professor, Nicolas Guibal.
This tuition was invaluable as, at age 28, she set off for Paris and became a pupil of French court painter, Antoine Vestier, for another two years. Paris was clearly close to her heart as, following her marriage in 1791, she returned to the French capital for a further year, but then had to flee due to the turmoil of the revolution.
Throughout her life, she balanced her domestic responsibilities with her career as a painter. This continued into her later years when she became a carer to her husband following a stroke. To meet the costs of her husband's medical fees, she raised funds by giving lessons to aspiring artists, including females.
Ludovike Sophie Reichenbach’s French-inspired style, coupled with her story, have positioned her as an important figure in late 18th-century European art. This painting of her nephew is one of around 30 family portraits that still exist today and includes a letter from a researcher that provides some interesting provenance.