Portrait of a woman

Albert de Belleroche, Portrait of a Woman

Belleroche, born in Wales in 1864, was bought up in Paris and studied painting under Carolus-Duran. He exhibited at the Paris Salon from 1887, was a member of the N.E.A.C.,1894–9, and a founding member of the Salon d’Automne, 1903. He had one-man shows of lithographs in Vienna in 1902 and the Goupil Gallery in 1903 and retrospective exhibitions at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, 1942, the Salon d’Automne, 1947, the Leicester Galleries (drawings), 1954, and Arthur Tooth & Sons (paintings), 1955.

Belleroche would benefit from further research: it would be interesting to know more about his relationship with Degas (who owned 3 of Belleroche’s prints and allegedly admired his handling of paint) and other key figures of the period including Helleu and Sargent, with whom he traveled to Harlem on a sketching trip in the late 1880s. Belleroche taught Sargent the art of lithography and shared studios with him in both Paris and London. Oscar Wilde, Zola, Lautrec, George Moore, Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec were all part of his social circle. It has even been suggested that Belleroche was the inspiration for Oscar Wilde’s Portrait of Dorian Grey and that Sargent’s famous Portrait of Madame X is in fact based on a portrait by Belleroche. Lautrec and Belleroche, exact contemporaries, painted each other’s portraits (at the age of 18) and shared as a confidante and model the much feted Lili Grenier. Cha-U-Kao, Mata Hari, and Olympia, (the model immortalized by Manet), also posed for Belleroche.

Claude Roger-Marx, the critic who discovered Renoir, was amongst Belleroche’s fervent admirers, referring to him as ‘le peintre des femmes decoiffées’. Acknowledging Belleroche’s importance as painter-lithographer, he also wrote: “Belleroche holds a premier position in the current renaissance of lithography. No one since Eugene Carriere has equaled Belleroche’s technique or his understanding of lithography.”


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