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Alexandra of Denmark, Queen of England. c. 1912. Drypoint printed in colors. 21 3/8 x 13 3/4 (sheet 27 3/8 x 15 1/2). An excellent impression with subtle plate tone, printed on white wove paper. Signed in pencil. Housed in an elegant 28 1/2 x 21-inch gold leaf frame with a silk mat and a gold lip. $4,500.
La Duchesse de Marlborough, Consuelo Vanderbilt. c. 1901. Drypoint. 21 1/2 x 13 3/4 (sheet 24 3/8 x 12 3/4). Housed in a silk mat with a gold liner, in a gold leaf frame that measures 31 1/2 x 22 1/2. A rich impression printed on white wove paper with full margins. This portrait is the artist's master work. Signed in pencil in the image. Housed in 33 1/2 x 24 1/4-inch antique black lacquer and gilt picture frame with applied gilt decorations. $19,000.
Le Noeud Bleu (The Hat with the Blue Bow). c. 1905. Drypoint printed in four colors (black, brown, blue, red). Montesquieu 40. 21 x 13 (sheet 21/1/4x 13 1/4). Edition 80, # 6. A fine impression with subtle colors. Signed in pencil. Housed in a classic 28 1/2 x 21 1/2 -inch gold leaf frame with an archival French mat. This portrait of Miss Madeleine Dolley, a famous beauty, comedienne, and dancer from the Folies-Bergėre, is one of Helleu's most delightful images. $4,000.
Portrait of Whistler with the Monacle. 1897. Drypoint. 13 3/4 x 10 1/4 (sheet 16 3/4 x 11 5/8). A carefully wiped impression with plate tone, from the canceled plate (there were only 28 impressions before the plate was canceled), printed on cream laid paper. A delightful portrait of Helleu's colleague and friend, Whistler. $1,750.
Helleu had a classical education in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts from 1870 under Jean-Lėon Gėrome. However, in his maturity he began to paint en plein-air in an Impressionist style and Degas invited him to exhibit at the Impressionist exhibition of 1886. In this year James Tissot, appointed Helleu his artistic successor, giving him the diamond he had used for his drypoints. Helleu made a considerable reputation producing portraits of fashionable figures in this medium.
His works in both drypoint and oil show the influence of Japanese prints in their unusual angles and perspectives. In 1887 he met Comte Robert de Montesquiou who was to become his patron, friend and biographer. Helleu was also close friends with John Singer Sargeant, Edgar Degas, Alfred Stevens, Giovanni Boldini and Whistler, of whom he made a drypoint portrait.
Continental Fine Prints.
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