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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Marie du Deffand

b. 1697, Chamrond, France; d. 1780, Paris

Marie du Deffand was a prominent figure in the political and literary worlds of eighteenth-century France, as a salon hostess and a woman of letters. She was born into a noble family, schooled at a convent, and shortly thereafter married. Her marriage did not last and Deffand became the mistress of Philippe II, duc d’Orléans. She established her own salon and entertained a circle of aristocrats, scientists, and writers. After she became blind in the 1750s, she asked Julie de Lespinasse to assume hostess responsibilities. Lespinasse’s popularity, however, annoyed her; Deffand dismissed her in 1764, around the time her salon began to decline. In addition to hosting, Deffand wrote numerous letters, particularly to the duchess de Choiseul and Horace Walpole.

Judy Chicago (American, b. 1939). <em>The Dinner Party</em> (Heritage Floor; detail), 1974–79. Porcelain with rainbow and gold luster, 48 x 48 x 48 ft. (14.6 x 14.6 x 14.6 m). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. © Judy Chicago. Photograph by Jook Leung Photography
Judy Chicago (American, b. 1939). The Dinner Party (Heritage Floor; detail), 1974–79. Porcelain with rainbow and gold luster, 48 x 48 x 48 ft. (14.6 x 14.6 x 14.6 m). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. © Judy Chicago. Photograph by Jook Leung Photography

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