Sunday, January 21, 2018

04 Paintings, PORTRAIT OF A LADY, of the 18th & 19th C., with Footnotes. #19

Jean-Joseph Benjamin Constant, French, 1845-1902 
Lady with a Jewel Box (Prima Donna Marguerite in "Jewel Song" of Gounod's 'Faust' 
Oil on canvas 
38 3/4 x 24 1/4 inches (98.5 x 61.5 cm)
Private collection

Marguerite Bériza (1880 – 1970) was a French opera singer who had an active international career during the first half of the 20th century. She began her career as a mezzo-soprano at the Opéra-Comique in 1900; ultimately transitioning into the leading soprano repertoire at that theatre in 1912. She performed extensively in the United States from 1914–1917,  in the French provinces, Monaco, Portugal, and Switzerland. In 1924 she founded her own opera company in Paris with whom she actively performed up until 1930. More on Marguerite Bériza 

Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant, born Jean-Joseph Constant (10 June 1845 – 26 May 1902), was a French painter and etcher best known for his Oriental subjects and portraits. He was born in Paris and studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Toulouse. A journey to Morocco in 1872 strongly influenced his early artistic development and lead him to produce Romantic scenes under the spell of Orientalism. He received a medal in 1876.

After 1880, he changed his manner, devoting himself to mural decorations. He was distinguished as a portrait painter, especially in England, where he was a favorite of the aristocracy. His portrait Mons fils André (Luxembourg) was awarded a medal of honor at the Salon in 1896.

He was made a member of the Institute in 1893, and was a commander of the Legion of Honor. He visited the United States several times, and painted a number of portraits. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York owns a large mural decoration by Benjamin-Constant entitled Justinian in Council.

He also was a writer of repute, contributing a number of studies on contemporary French painters. He died in Paris on 26 May 1902. More on Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant

Salvador Dali, Spanish, 1904-1989
 Portrait of Ruth Lachman, c. 1961
Oil on canvas 
36 x 24 3/4 inches (91.5 x 62.9 cm)
Private collection

Enigmatic and elusive, this painting embodies the genre-bending portraiture of Dalí's mature oeuvre. He portrays here the collector and society figure of New York City, Ruch Lachman. Her gaze at the viewer is at once inquisitive and assured, suggesting a narrative that is not fully formed. Dalí incorporates into the background a series of figures unique to his Surrealist canon - a figure on horseback and attenuated angel. The desert landscape recedes into the distance to meet with a dramatic mountain range. The unorthodox dialogue between the central figure, seemingly at rest in an interior, and the expansive dreamscape.  More on this painting

Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, Marqués de Dalí de Púbol (11 May 1904 – 23 January 1989), known professionally as Salvador Dalí, was a prominent Spanish surrealist painter born in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain.

Dalí was a skilled draftsman, best known for the striking and bizarre images in his surrealist work. His painterly skills are often attributed to the influence of Renaissance masters. His best-known work, The Persistence of Memory, was completed in August 1931. Dalí's expansive artistic repertoire included film, sculpture, and photography, in collaboration with a range of artists in a variety of media.

Dalí attributed his "love of everything that is gilded and excessive, my passion for luxury and my love of oriental clothes" to an "Arab lineage", claiming that his ancestors were descended from the Moors.

Dalí was highly imaginative, and also enjoyed indulging in unusual and grandiose behavior. His eccentric manner and attention-grabbing public actions sometimes drew more attention than his artwork, to the dismay of those who held his work in high esteem, and to the irritation of his critics. More Salvador Dalí

Attributed to Sir Peter Lely and Studio, SOEST 1618 - 1680 LONDON
Oil on canvas
129 by 196cm., 50¾ by 77¼ in.
Private collection

Full length, nude, recumbent on a divan, drawing back a curtain to reveal a balustrade with a pair of doves, a villa and landscape beyond.

Elizabeth Trentham, Viscountess Cullen (1640-1713) was Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Catherine and a celebrated Restoration Court beauty of equivocal reputation – notorious for her physical charm, her extravagance and her immorality. The daughter of Sir Francis Trentham of Rocester Priory, in Staffordshire, and wife of Brian Cokayne, 2nd Viscount Cullen (1631-1687), she was a considerable heiress, inheriting not only the Trentham family estates in Staffordshire but also those of the de Vere family, Earls of Oxford, at Castle Hedingham in Essex, which provided her with an independent income of £6,000 a year. Such was her extravagance, however, that she ran through it all. The very fact that she was prepared to have herself painted entirely naked, in quite such a provocative and alluring manner, is a strong indication of her character. More on Elizabeth Trentham

Lely painted another, more conventional portrait of Lady Cullen (below). Conceived very much in the manner of his Windsor and Althorp series, three-quarter length, wearing a yellow satin dress, the number of versions after that picture underscores her reputation as a ‘Beauty’ and indicate the prominence of her contemporary fame. More on this painting

Sir Peter Lely (Soest 1618 – London 1680)
Elizabeth Trentham, Viscountess Cullen (1640-1713), circa 1660 - 1665
1270 x 1029 mm (50 x 40 1/2 in)
National Trust Collections

Peter Lely, Dutch, British, English (Born Soest, Westphalia, 14 September 1618; died London, 30 November 1680). Painter of Dutch origin who spent almost all his career in England and was naturalized in 1662. His family name was originally van der Faes, and the name Lely is said to have come from a lily carved on the house in The Hague where his father was born. Lely was born in Germany and trained in Haarlem.

He moved to England in the early 1640s, and although he first painted figure compositions in landscapes (Sleeping Nymphs, c.1650, Dulwich Picture Gal., London), he soon turned to the more profitable field of portraiture. 

Fortune shone on him, for within a few years of his arrival the best portraitists in England disappeared from the scene: van Dyck and William Dobson died in 1641 and 1646 respectively, and Cornelius Johnson returned to Holland in 1643. In 1654 he was described as ‘the best artist in England’. Lely portrayed Charles I and his children, Oliver Cromwell and his son Richard, and other leading figures of the Interregnum. With the aid of a team of assistants he maintained an enormous output, and his fleshy, sleepy beauties clad in exquisite silks and his bewigged courtiers have created the popular image of Restoration England. More on Peter Lely

Images are copyright of their respective owners, assignees or others

We do not sell art, art prints, framed posters or reproductions. Ads are shown only to compensate the hosting expenses.

If you enjoyed this post, please share with friends and family.