All posts tagged: Louise Abbéma

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 …