Antoine Laurent Lavoisier (1743–1794) and His Wife (Marie Anne Pierrette Paulze, 1758–1836)

Artist: Jacques Louis David (French, Paris 1748–1825 Brussels)

Date: 1788

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 102 1/4 x 76 5/8 in. (259.7 x 194.6 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman Gift, in honor of Everett Fahy, 1977

Accession Number: 1977.10


This magnificent double portrait was painted in 1788, when the artist was the standard-bearer of French Neoclassicism. For political reasons, Lavoisier was obliged to withdraw it from the 1789 Salon, and it was not publicly exhibited for a century. Lavoisier is known for his pioneering studies of gunpowder, oxygen, and the chemical composition of water. In 1789 he published a treatise on chemistry illustrated by his wife. Despite his services to both the monarchy and the revolutionary regime, he was guillotined.