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3 mars 2020

Swann Galleries celebrate Belle Epoque beauties immortalised by artist who inspired Coco Chanel

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Lot 71. Paul César Helleu, Quatre Etudes de têtes de jeune femmes. Drypoint printed in dark reddish brown, circa 1900. 292x390 mm; 11 1/2x15 1/4 inches, full margins. Signed in pencil, lower left. Estimate: $ 1,200 - $ 1,800. Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries.

NEW YORK, NY.- Swann Auction Galleries celebrates the Belle Epoque on March 5 with a series of exquisite portraits of society women and girls by a master of the genre, the French artist Paul César Helleu.

The half-dozen colour drypoint etchings, which include one of the artist’s daughter Paulette, all date to around 1900 and are expected to fetch prices ranging from $1,800 to $3,500 each in the 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings auction. 

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Lot 72. Paul César Helleu, Paulette Helleu. Color drypoint, circa 1900. 544x355 mm; 21 3/8x14 inches, full margins. Signed and dedicated in pencil, lower leftEstimate: $ 2,000 - $ 3,000. Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries.

Helleu was a close friend of the American Society portrait painter John Singer Sargent and an acquaintance of Whistler; Sargent’s swagger portraits of society figures were the talk of the Edwardian era and clearly influenced his French friend, who mastered the drypoint etching technique before going on to capture figures as distinguished as the Duchess of Marlborough and Helena Rubenstein. Helleu also befriended Coco Chanel who selected beige as her signature colour on his advice, with both his son, Jean, and grandson, Jacques, going on to become artistic directors for Parfums Chanel.

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Lot 73. Paul César Helleu, Élégante au grand Chapeau et à la Fourrure. Color drypoint, circa 1900. 545x345 mm; 21 1/2x13 3/4 inches, full margins. Signed in pencil, lower left. Estimate: $ 2,500 - $ 3,500. Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries.

 

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Lot 74. Paul César Helleu, Le Chapeau Rose. Color drypoint, circa 1900. 543x340 mm; 21 3/8x13 1/4 inches, full margins. Signed in pencil, lower rightEstimate: $ 2,500 - $ 3,500. Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries.

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Lot 75. Paul César Helleu, Élégante au Chapeau à Plumes. Color drypoint, circa 1900. 570x350 mm; 22 1/4x13 3/4 inches, full margins. Signed in pencil, lower leftEstimate: $ 1,500 - $ 2,500. Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries.

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Lot 76. Paul César Helleu, Lady Dureon. Color drypoint, circa 1900. 536x335 mm; 21 1/4x13 1/8 inches, full margins. Signed in pencil, lower rightEstimate: $ 2,500 - $ 3,500. Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries.

The etchings will appear alongside works by some the leading artists of the period, whose own prints and drawings form highlights in the sale. These include drypoint etchings by James Whistler, the best of which is estimated at $40,000 to $60,000, the same guide as for a drawing by Jean-François Millet and a linocut print by Pablo Picasso.

Live online bidding is available via the website at www.swanngalleries.com and on the Swann Galleries app, which means bidders from all over the world have direct access to the sale

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