HELLEU Paul-Cesar - Autograph Letter Signed to his art dealer
Paul-César HELLEU (1859-1927)
Autograph Letter Signed (“P.C. Helleu”) to “Mon cher Manzi” [Michel Manzi of the firm of art publishers and dealers Manzi-Joyant], making an appointment.
1 page 8vo in French with integral blank leaf, 45 rue Emile Menier, n.d. [but c. 1900].Together with an Autograph Letter Signed from his wife, Alice, on her monogrammed writing paper, also to Manzi, arranging an article and discussing the sale of pictures.2½ pages 8vo in French, n.p., n.d. [but c. 1900].
Trans: “I will expect you Sunday morning around 10 o’clock if you would be so kind.”
Alice Helleu’s letter gives us more detailed information.
Trans: “Boussod [Jean Boussod, a founding member of the publishing firm, together with Manzi and Joyant; Boussod died in 1907] took only one painting, the wrong one of course. Would you like to do a Figaro illustré [the colour magazine associated with the newspaper Le Figaro] on family life on a yacht. How much will you give me for the 25 drawings and sketches and paintings which are ready. We would make another one next year and you could combine the two into one album for new year’s day on which you would give me a commission on sales. When could you come if this suits you?”
Helleu was known as a keen sailor and owned several yachts, so the invitation to do a feature on family life on a yacht is unsurprising, although today it may carry echoes of a century-old version of Hello magazine.
Helleu had met his wife, Alice, when he was commissioned to paint the portrait of the 14-year-old. They were married two years later in what proved to be a very happy union.
A friend of John Singer Sargent, and well acquainted with Boldini, Tissot and Whistler, Helleu was immensely influential in creating the image of the idealised, elegant women who graced the three decades preceding the First World War.
Helleu’s letter is slightly dusty at the edges, not affecting the text.
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