Anne-Josèphe Théroigne de Méricourt, nicknamed La belle Liégeoise (the Beauty from Liege), was one of the rare female figureheads in the French Revolution. The sculptor Charles Marin immortalised her in a bust in 1792, which has been acquired by the Raphaël and Françoise Haeven Fund.
Born in 1762 in Marcourt, in the former Principality of Liege (and today in the Province of Luxembourg), Anne-Josèphe Théroigne de Méricourt was an opera singer as well as being one of the rare female political figures of the French Revolution. This plaster bust, made in 1792 by the sculptor Joseph Charles Marin, preserves the memory of this extraordinary woman.
The bust was acquired by the Raphaël and Françoise Haeven Fund, created by a recently deceased couple from Liege whose wish was to support the preservation of artistic heritage. The bust will be part of the public collections of La Boverie in Liege. The Fund had also previously acquired, for the Grétry Museum in Liege, a portrait of Constance Charpentier made by the Liege painter Jean-Joseph Ansiaux.
Joseph Charles Marin (1749-1834) was a French sculptor who first won fame for his work in the Rococo style, after studying with Clodion, a Rococo specialist. He then turned towards the Neoclassical. In 1801, Marin was awarded the Grand Prix de Rome for Sculpture.
Anne-Josèphe Théroigne de Méricourt, who was given the nickname La belle Liégeoise, travelled to Paris, London and then Italy, before going to Versailles in 1789, when it was at the heart of the revolutionary movement, whose ideals she espoused. Pioneer of feminist demands, she became known as the only woman to have attended the Assembly’s sittings. However, when she became a target of the counter-revolutionaries, she fled to Liege, from where she was abducted and subsequently imprisoned in Austria, before being freed and returning to Paris in 1791, covered in glory. It was at this time that Marin made the bust of Anne-Josèphe, a historical work in more than one way!