Madame Helleu à son bureau

19th Century European & Orientalist Art, Christie’s London, King Street, 9 December 2014
This elegant interior is by the celebrated French artist Paul-César Helleu (1859-1927) and depicts his wife Alice Guérin, who was his favourite model and when I saw it the other day thought that I should share it with you.

LOT 15 PROPERTY OF AN ENGLISH PRIVATE COLLECTOR  Paul-César Helleu (French, 1859-1927)  Madame Helleu à son bureau  oil on canvas  30¾ x 22¾ in. (78.1 x 57.8 cm.)  estimate:£200,000 – 300,000 CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2014

LOT 15
PROPERTY OF AN ENGLISH PRIVATE COLLECTOR
Paul-César Helleu (French, 1859-1927)
Madame Helleu à son bureau
oil on canvas
30¾ x 22¾ in. (78.1 x 57.8 cm.)
estimate:£200,000 – 300,000
CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD. 2014

As in some of his works the sitter is seen from behind, here seated at a secrétaire, which incidentally is still in the artist’s family. This elegant room was their drawing room and the walls were hung with a mixture of 18th century drawings and works by his contemporaries, such as the Leda and the Swan by Giovanni Boldini which hangs above the secrétaire. Although the furniture was either 18th century or Empire there is also a nod to the fashion for Japonisme at that time in the porcelain Koi carp, hanging to the left.

It is an exceptionally elegant room with an appeal that still resonates today.

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