Oil on pannel
23.4 x 14 cm
Signed at top : Carolus-Duran
Dedicated, located and dated below : A mon ami des Renaudes. Vevey 1er Août 82
Born into a modest family in Lille, Charles Auguste Émile Durand first trained in the studio of the painter François Souchon. He continued his training in Paris thanks to a scholarship from his local region. He was awarded the Wicar Prize in 1862 and spent four years in Rome under a scholarship from this foundation.
Had he had greater financial security, Carolus-Duran would probably have chosen to stay in Paris with his friends Degas, Fantin-Latour, and Manet at a time when the ideas of modern painting were being created. After a stint in Spain, he returned to France completely overwhelmed by his discovery of Velasquez's works.
Achieving great success at the Salons with his portraits, he specialized in the genre, eventually becoming the most sought-after portrait painter of Parisian high society. He taught this art in his studio attended by young painters from all over the world such as Joachim Sorolla or John Singer Sargent. Close to Impressionist circle while aware of how to remain sufficiently conventional to keep within the tastes of the Académie, Carolus-Duran received many honors,
eventually in 1905 becoming director of the French School of Rome.
In 1880, he painted the portrait of Elisabeth Sachs, Countess Borye des Renaudes. It was perhaps on this occasion that he met her husband, Adrien Borye des Renaudes. Impossible to know, but two years later, the two men were friends as mentioned in the dedication at the bottom of this portrait. This image, painted on the spot with assurance and speed, with a clever use of reserves, is a beautiful expression of his free style and his talent as a colorist.