Arts Everyday Living: Inside World of an Artist’s Wife-Model of Husband & John Singer Sargent

Paul Cesar Helleu, Portrait of Madame Helleu with a Parasol, c. 1899, oil, Location Unknown

American master John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), one of the leading portraitists of the late 19th and early 20th century, was a life long friend of French artist Paul Cesar Helleu (1859-1927). Helleu may not have achieved the fame of Sargent, but he was known for his depictions of fashionable, society women.

In this blog, Madame Helleu is the subject, interpreted by both her husband and Sargent: first in the unforgettable pose above, obviously the center of attention while below she seems secondary, bored perhaps by her spouse’s endless hours of sketching.

John Singer Sargent, Paul Helleu Sketching with His Wife, 1889, oil, The Brooklyn Museum, New York

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