Apr 1, 2007
This portrait of Madame Gautreau, a haughty Parisian beauty, created such a scandal at the Paris Salon in 1884 that the artist John Singer Sargeant had to withdraw it. I first saw this fabulous painting in the Tate Gallery in London, and then another version at the Metropolitan Museum of Art some years later.
A. Hyatt Mayer writes about Madame Gautreau: "Her studied, indifferent, statuesque presence stopped parties, stopped traffic in the street....But one day on the beach at Cannes, Madame Gautreau overheard a woman say that she was beginning to look worn. She drove in a closed carriage to her hotel, took a darkened compartment on the train to Paris, and shut herself up for the rest of her life in dim rooms without mirrors."
Read more about this unforgettable painting here and here.