Soulacroix’s models rarely step outside their elegant interiors, where the rooms are always decorated with silks, velvets, flowers and directoire furniture, garnished with ormolu. While born in France, Soulacroix lived in Florence, where he worked with Sorbi (see lot 80), an artist equally skilled in depicting high society's pleasures. While Sorbi more often paints the world of men, Soulacroix introduces his viewer to the fashionable feminine realm where précieuses and élégantes meet for an afternoon tea to discuss the latest gossip. Here the whispering of one woman into the ear of another is delicious enough to illicit a smile as she takes the arm of her girlfriend. The lady’s expression of expectation elevates the narrative tension of the scene set in an earlier era where (Soulacroix and his patrons believed) women could afford long leisure hours to share delightful stories.
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