Paul-César Helleu was a French painter and engraver, born in Vannes on 17 December 1859, and died in Paris (7th arrondissement) on 23 March 1927.
In 1876, he was admitted to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in Jean-Léon Gérôme's studio, but he was most attracted to plein air painters. He befriended Whistler and Sargent, then Claude Monet, whom he met at Durand-Ruel's during the second Impressionist exhibition.
To survive, Helleu works for the ceramist Théodore Deck, for whom he makes decorations for dishes. There he met Giovanni Boldini, with whom he would form a very long friendship.
In 1886, already noticed in several exhibitions, he refused with his friend Monet to take part in the eighth Salon des impressionnistes, despite Edgar Degas' requests.
In 1894, Paul Helleu was in the midst of a triumph, the "Helleu style", which characterised elegance or refinement and feminine grace, was a huge success in Paris as well as in London and New York, where he went from 1902 onwards.
In 1912, he was commissioned to decorate the ceiling of the Grand Central Terminal in New York, on the theme of the signs of the Zodiac: a starry vault, crossed by a zodiac with golden signs and a silver milky way.
Catalog raisonné of the artist, produced by the Association des Amis de Paul-César Helleu, referenced: APCH DE1 8433.
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