Monday, June 9, 2008

Picture This: Paul César Helleu

The portraitists of the Belle Époque! How one does adore them. Of them all, Helleu is perhaps the greatest connoisseur of women, whether they are Great (if pensive) Ladies like Consuelo, Duchess of Marlborough:

Or rather minxier types (do I detect a whiff of Bonham Carter here?):

I like the way his subjects keep their own secrets; their expressions are always rather distant, as if listening to something in the next room...

Although they are, at least occasionally, amused:

He was a great friend of John Singer Sargent, who while unquestionably the greater painter, still picked up something of his colleague's allusive style, as in this portrait of Paul César himself:

Ah. So French, so fin de siècle, so lovely. Now I want to ring for my landau and go for a drive in the Bois de Boulogne, preferably in either top hat or corset. Or both...

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