All posts tagged: Jules Bastien-Lepage

Jeanne Samary and her life

A reader has asked me about Jeanne Samary, and the real dress that she would have worn for Renoir’s full length portrait. This is what we know about Jeanne, and tomorrow I’ll discuss what other garments of the late 1870s tell us about Jeanne’s dress, and who it might have been made by. Jeanne Samary was born on 4 March, 1857 (making her in her early 20s when she sat for Renoir). She came from a strong musical and theatrical background: her father was a cellist, and two of her maternal aunts, as well as her grandmother, had been actresses. The artistic and dramatic gene was strong in Jeanne’s generation. Her older sister Marie also became a noted actress, appearing at the Odeon and Renaissance Theatres, and was painted by Jules Bastien-Lepage.  Her older brother was a famous violinist, and her younger brother Henry, a noted actor who was painted by Toulous-Lautrec. Jeanne’s mother is a shadowy figure at best, and not much is known about her childhood, but it can’t have been easy.  Her father …

Rate the Dress: Jeanne Samary by Bastien-Lepage

Last week Norma Shearer as Juliet fared no better than most of our other glamorous actresses who wore historical interpretations.  She was dubbed “mutton dressed up as sparkly lamb” and rated only a 3.2 out of 10.  Ouch! I haven’t told you this yet, but this week is going to be all about Jeanne Samary, so our Rate the Dress is her portrait by Jules Bastien-Lepage, probably painted in 1879 The 21 year old Jeanne is shown relaxing on a cane chair, her brown heel clad feet sticking out from under her blue-grey skirt which contrasts with her dark blue jacket with white cuffs, the parasol of the paintings title resting jauntily over one shoulder.  Here is the exciting thing: we also have a photograph of Jeanne in this outfit, so we can compare how Bastien-Lepage interpreted it: And a close up of her face: What do you think.  Is Jeanne the picture of youthful relaxation and comfort, or has she been depicted as the typical actress:  too casual, too tousled, and too approachable?  In …