Paul César Helleu, ‘Madame Helleu Cradling Paulette in Her Arms’, 1904/1905, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
sheet: 48.9 x 42.7 cm (19 1/4 x 16 13/16 in.)

Image rights: Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington

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About Paul César Helleu

Paul-César Helleu captured the gaiety of the Belle-Epoque with his society portraits of beautiful young women (he rarely depicted anyone else) drawn in large format with sweeping lines. Classifying his work along the lines of “posed portraits”, “portraits seized in a moment”, or “intricate affectionate studies”, he produced formal compositions, family scenes, and nudes, both in outdoor and interior settings. He worked in the newly popular medium of printmaking, eventually adopting drypoint etching as his preferred technique because it has the spontaneity of rapid sketches. Over the course of his career, Helleu created over 1,500 color and black-and-white prints, many in editions of only one or two. He is heralded for capturing the soft fibers of the furs and plumes that adorned his fashionable subjects.

French, 1859-1927, Vannes, France, based in Paris, France

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Christopher Kingzett Fine Art at Masterpiece London 2017