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Work Portrait of Jeanne-Marie, known as Jenny Le Guillou

Department of The Musée National Eugène-Delacroix

Portrait of Jeanne-Marie, known as Jenny Le Guillou, Eugène Delacroix

© RMN-Grand Palais (musée du Louvre) / Droits réservés

The Musée National Eugène-Delacroix

Hélène Doré

The painter’s loyal servant

Jenny Le Guillou (1801–1869) entered into the service of Delacroix around 1835. She gradually occupied an increasingly important place in his life, advising him on management of the household she governed, as well as on his finances and interactions outside the home. She also gave him her opinion on his paintings, and sometimes went to Etienne Haro’s shop to fetch the paints the artist needed. It is thus thought that the paint merchant used the loyal servant to convince the master to sign the lease agreement for the apartment at 6 rue de Fürstenberg (now the Musée Delacroix). While she was criticized for having isolated the painter from his friends at the end of his life, Jenny Le Guillou stayed by him until his death, and was the only person for whom the artist had a sincere and lasting affection. On October 3, 1855, Delacroix wrote in his Journal that she was “the only being whose heart belongs unconditionally to me.”

An intimate portrait

Making use of tight framing, and subtle lighting to highlight the servant’s face, Delacroix brings out her expression, capturing in this artwork her kindly character, at once protective and strict. Her firm gaze upon the viewer, her lips tight, Jenny wears a light lace bonnet that softens her features and lends a touch of luminosity to the somber tone of the painting. Delacroix also painted a portrait of her daughter, Lucile-Jenny, in oil on canvas, held at the Musée Eugène Delacroix.


The Le Guillou bequest

These two portraits originate from Jenny Le Guillou’s estate after death. They were bequeathed to the Louvre along with a third artwork, a pencil drawing of Chopin as Dante. They were first found listed in the inventories of the Cabinet des Dessins and the Department of Paintings in August 1872.


Jobert, Barthélémy, Delacroix, Paris, Gallimard, 1997, pp. 30 – 31
Johnson, Lee, The paintings of Eugène Delacroix, A Critical Catalogue, 1832 – 1863, volume III, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1986, p. 54
Revue du Louvre, 1982, pp. 181 – 187

Technical description

  • Eugène DELACROIX (Charenton-Saint-Maurice, 1798 - Paris, 1863)

    Portrait of Jeanne-Marie, known as Jenny Le Guillou

    c. 1840

  • Oil on canvas

    H: 45.5 cm; W: 37.5 cm

  • RF 3091

  • The Musée National Eugène-Delacroix

Practical information

Musée Eugène-Delacroix
6, rue de Furstenberg
75006 Paris
Tel.: +33 (0)1 44 41 86 50

Getting there - Metro:
Alight at Saint-Germain-des-Prés station (line 4) or Mabillon station (line 10).

Opening hours:
Open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Tuesdays
Closed on the following holidays: January 1, May 1, December 25