Blanche’s wealthy parents built a large house in Auteuil in 1871 into which the family moved in 1873. Jacques-Emile‘s studio there was vast and furnished with Oriental porcelain and lacquer, Persian carpets, 18th century furniture and pictures which he or his father had collected over the years. In 1893, Blanche’s father died, followed by his mother in 1895, and as an only son, he inherited both the house in Auteuil and the Bas Fort Blanc in Dieppe. He was already a middle-aged established portrait painter by then, as period photographs confirm. In it, one can clearly distinguish the painted Louis XV period chair upholstered in yellow striped velvet and many Chinese vases such as those in this interior. In the center of the composition and above the wing-chair is a painting by Edgar Degas, La Répétition (Burrell Collection, Glasgow), which his father bought from Boussod and Valadon in 1888 and, on the left, what seems to be a study of Les Femmes d’Alger by Delacroix which his father had bought from his friends Duponchel. Blanche, having very close links to England and loving all things English, was one of the only Frenchmen of the time to appreciate chintz: he painted his sofa, also covered in flowered chintz, on the opposite side of this room, several times, rendering the flower motifs on the white backround with the same artistic talent, as in Le Sofa De Chintz, L’Atelier D’Auteuil, which was sold at Sotheby’s, New York in The Bill Blass Collection, October 21, 2003, lot 30.
We would like to thank Jane Roberts for her assistance in cataloguing this lot and the accompanying note. This painting will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné being prepared by Jane Roberts and the Comité Blanche.
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