Paul César HELLEU (Vannes 1859 - Paris 1927)
A Young Woman Seated at a Table
Watercolour, heightened with gouache.
Signed Helleu at the lower left.
Inscribed [??] / M. Renard 190 Bd Pereire in pencil on the verso.
369 x 480 mm. (14 1/2 x 18 7/8 in.)
The pencil inscription on the verso of the present sheet may refer to Marie Renard, a professional model who posed several times for Helleu, as well as for Edouard Manet and Berthe Morisot. Helleu met Marie Renard in 1879, and she seems to have posed often for the artist in the early part of his career, throughout the 1880s. A painted portrait of Marie Renard by Helleu, dated 1884 and depicting her writing at a desk, is in a private collection, while another painting of her, dated 1886, is in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rouen.
Stylistically comparable to the present sheet is a watercolour study - drawn in 1886 and depicting his wife Alice, during their honeymoon, seated at a desk and seen from behind - in the collection of the Musée Bonnat-Helleu in Bayonne.
To be included in the forthcoming Helleu catalogue raisonné, under the number AQ-6362.