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La Belle Americain – Elizabeth Monroe, Three of Diamonds
1999, oil and acrylic on canvas, 70 x 56”

Elizabeth Monroe was a tall, raven-haired beauty with pale blue eyes who liked fashion and wore low-cut dresses. Many American ladies complained that she had no right to be so beautiful in her fifties, and found her choice of clothing scandalous. The French, on the other hand. loved Elizabeth and called her “La Belle Americain” — the beautiful American! James Monroe was, for a time, the American Minister to France. During the French Revolution, Elizabeth used her influence to secure the release of General Lafayette’s wife from prison.

Elizabeth Monroe suffered from a mysterious ailment during the second half of her life and, in her late sixties, sustained severe burns after she tumbled into a fireplace. She died in 1830, a few years after this accident.

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