Something From The Musee d’Orsay…

In our recent visit to the Musee d’Orsay, we came across this striking portrait:

Albert Bartholomé, In the Conservatory (Madame Bartholomé), c. 1881

The circumstances behind In the Conservatory by Albert Bartholomé are tragic. Painted in 1881, the artist depicted his wife Prospérie de Fleury (nee Madame Bartholomé) who sadly died in 1887, just six years after this portrait was executed. However, this portrait is also noteworthy in that the cotton day dress that Madame Bartholomé is wearing in the portrait survives to this day. Below are some pictures of the dress:

Day Dress c. 1881 Madame Bartholomé

Here’s a closer view that shows off the details:

Day Dress c. 1881 Madame Bartholomé

Close-Up View

Day Dress c. 1881 Madame Bartholomé

Rear View

This dress definitely reads Mid-Bustle Era with the cuirass bodice and relatively cylindrical profile; there is a train and bustle present but it’s relatively restrained with the train spreading out rather than flowing towards the rear. The combination of colors and the pleating effect are amazing and they are just as striking “live” as well as in the portrait. The bodice is constructed of a white cotton with purple polka dots. On the other hand, the sleeves consists of white cotton with broad purple vertical stripes. The skirt is pleated such that there are white under-folds while purple dominates on the outside- definitely a unique effect. What’s especially nice is that we have both the portrait and the subject’s dress so we can compare them; it’s rare that you get this situation. Unfortunately, the dress was not on display but still, it was nice to be able to at least view the portrait up close and in person. Hopefully, someday we’ll be able to view the dress… 🙂

At The Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris

Ernest Duez’s portrait has always been a fashion bestie of mine, and her petit chien is a bonus. I had no idea this painting was life size, definitely a fashion moment for me!

And here’s a close-up of the portrait:

Ernest Duez (1843-1896), Splendeur, 1874

The Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris is a fascinating place to visit. Stay tuned for more!

And For A Little More From The Met- Conservation

We are always amazed at the collections at the Met and other museums but it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that the reason these outfits still look so fabulous is that they’re maintained by an army of conservators. Here’s a video that give us a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes in the Met’s Fashion Lab:

Happy Friday!

It’s Friday and we’re definitely ready for the weekend. This week has been a bit of trial with the all the fires and high winds going on in Southern California so to celebrate, we thought we’d kick it off with this excellent painting by Renoir depicting a lady in an early 1870s dress. What especially caught our eye was the deep blue color, something that’s on of the foundation colorways here at Lily Absinthe. Enjoy!

Auguste Renoir, La Parisienne, 1874