Countess Anna Zetzner Potocka

2 May 2020

Today’s painting by Vigée Le Brun is her enchanting portrait of Countess Anna Zetzner Potocka (1764-1814) which was painted in Rome in 1791. The lovely Countess, who was Polish and fabulously wealthy, was on her third husband at the time that this portrait was painted as her first one, a Lithuanian prince, had died in a hunting accident while the second, another prince, had been divorced after three years.

‘She came to see me with her husband,’ Vigée Le Brun recalled in her memoirs, ‘and as soon as he had left, she told me quite coolly: “This is my third husband: but I believe that I’ll take back the first one, who suits me better even though he is a drunk.” As the first husband was dead, it’s probable that she actually meant the last one, Prince Casimir Sapieha, who was also an alcoholic. Either way, she eventually got rid of Count Potocki when he divorced her for infidelity and in 1803 took Charles Eugène de Lorraine, Prince de Lambesc, the last male member of the house of Guise, as her fourth husband.

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