Monday, October 21, 2019

Jacques-Émile Blanche: Portraits of Women

Jacques-Émile Blanche (1861-1942) was a painter, musician and writer whose paintings were mostly portraits of wealthy people with some connection to the arts. His English Wikipedia entry is here, his French entry is here, and a take on the considerable time he spent in England is here.

Blanche's artistic training was brief, but he had enough talent and social connections to become successful. He lacked a consistent, distinct style. I rate him a solid step below the most famous portraitists of his day.

The images below are in approximate, not necessarily exact, chronological order. I hope they provide a sense of Blanche's stylistic evolution over his career.


Donna Olga Caracciolo dei Duchi di Castelluccio (later baroness de Meyer) - 1889
The earliest dated work I could find.

Señora Eugenia Huici de Errázuriz - 1890
Patroness of the arts, she also was painted by John Singer Sargent.

Mabel Beardsley - 1895
The actress, sister of illustrator Aubrey Beardsley.

Portrait de Lucie lisant un livre
I do not know who Lucie was.

Femme lisant
Another version of the pose -- is this also Lucie?

Portrait of Colette - 1905
Colette, the famous writer.

Portrait of The Honourable Mrs Charles Russell, née Adah Williams
Here Blanche shifts to a kind of modernist-inspired style -- some suggest a Boldini influence, but I'm not so sure.

Julia Prinsep Stephen, neé Jackson, formerly Mrs Duckworth
Mother of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell. The light touch of the previous image is gone, replaced by a darker, harder appearance.

Lady Marjorie Manners - 1909.jpg
Marjorie Harriet Paget, Marchioness of Anglesey (1883-1946), oldest daughter of the Duke of Rutland. Her sister Diana married Duff Cooper and was the mother of the late author John Julius Norwich.

Mlle Georgette Camille - 1925
A poet.

Virginia Woolf - 1927
The writer, daughter of Julia Prinsep Stephen, shown above. This is the most modernist-looking portrait of the set, but not of the fashionable 1920s-1930s simplified style.

Seated woman
Also from the 1920s, a nice study of a flapper.

Victoria Trefusis
Like Blanche, of the demi-monde. Perhaps painted around 1930.

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