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Reading Woman Jacques-Émile Blanche


Jacques-Émile Blanche Paris, 1861 – Offranville, 1942

Culture French
Date ca. 1900
Object type painting
Medium, technique oil on canvas

100 x 81.5 cm

Inventory number 21.B
Collection Department of Art after 1800
On view This artwork is not on display

Though he was also a writer, music aficionado and art critic, Jacques-Émile Blanche is best known as a portrait painter. Over a period of several decades, the well-connected and highly sociable Blanche immortalised some of the most important figures of his time (Proust, Cocteau, Stravinsky) and wrote several volumes of memoirs.
His painting in Budapest features not one of his distinguished sitters, but the daughter of a locksmith living nearby, Lucie Esnault, who had been regular model for the painter since her childhood. Lucie is reading, her figure reflected in the mirror, which also reveals a tiny glimpse of Blanche himself working on the painting: the man’s gaze stares out at us hauntingly. In this turn-of-the century painting, Blanche sketched the background with verve, rendering Lucie’s delicate skin, her chestnut hair, and the light ruffle of her muslin dress with loose brushwork. The palette, with its diverse shades of white, reveals the painter’s admiration for Manet and Whistler.

Zsófia Kovács

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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