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Paul Caesar Helleu - Portrait of Ellen


Original drypoint etching, signed by the artist in red crayon. Annotation in pencil (difficult to read)

Size: 548 x 400 mms (Paper size); 425 x 230 mms (Plate size)

Edition: Inscribed “Tiree a 15 (??) (The numbering is badly formed and uncertain). These etchings were normally not made in set edition numbers but were printed off, “on demand” , by the artist. Today one fries a large number of different types but not large numbers of each.

Note: We believe this to be a portrait of Ellen Helleu (1887 - 1942) , the artists daughter. The artists made numerous portraits of her amongst which is a drawing in The Art Institute of Chicago

Helleu is best known for his portraits of society ladies made during the Edwardian period during the “age of elegance” or “Belle Epoch”. In 1886, Helleu befriended Robert de Montesquiuo, the poet and aesthete. Montesquiuo’s cousin, the Countess Greffukhe, enabled Helleu to expand his career as a portrait artist to elegant women in the highest ranks of Paris society and these portraits provide the basis for his modern reputation. His subjects included the Duchess of Marlborough, Th Marchessa Casati, Belle da Costa Green, Louise Cheruit and Helena Rubinstein. Many of his subjects are not identifiable today. They all, however, share feminine elegance and affluence from a by-gone gilded age.