Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday Salon: A Favorite Painting

Paul Cesar Helleu (1859 - 1927) was born in Vannes, France. He was a contemporary and close friend of John Singer Sargent as well as J.J.J. Tissot, Giovanni Boldini, Whistler and a whole host of other artists working during La Belle Epoque. In fact Helleu himself was a man of great style and wit and was painted by both Sargent (in one my earlier Favorite Paintings posts) as well as Boldini and others. I have an idea all these artists often sketched and painted each other. It makes for a fascinating work and social record. A kind of 'we were all in this together' approach. Though that was definitely not always the case.

Known widely as a brilliant society portraitist, Helleu painted most of the fashionable beauties of his day. He worked extensively in drypoint and pastels. To read about his life and work, and find out exactly what the 'drypoint' technique is, please use the excellent link above.


  1. Lovely paintings, and I can see the love of style and fashion here, love the hats.

  2. They look like fashion spreads....very pretty.

  3. Kathy: Yes. Helleu had a flare for this sort of thing, no question. He was also one of the few artists I know about who had a happy homelife - he adored his wife.

  4. Ryan: Pretty but not so easy to create. Drypoint is a rather difficult technique which takes talent, flare and technical know-how. And he only printed a few prints of each, so he could control the quality which, I understand, was excellent. I just discovered Helleu a while back and I am loving his work more and more.


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