Oil on canvas signed and dated 1912, lower left
Dimensions : H. 130 x W. 126 cm (with frame : H. 144 x W. 140 cm)
Henry Caro-Delvaille, French of Spanish origin, was an important painter of the social life at the beginning of the 20th century. His real name was Delvaille ("de la Vallée" in Spanish) but he signed Caro-Delvaille because his mother, with whom he had a close relationship, was named Caroline. From his childhood, Henry Caro-Delvaille was curious about art, observed his surroundings and drew. His mother, a writer and poet, was his first guide.
After studying from 1895 to 1897 at the Bayonne School of Fine Arts, Henry Caro-Delvaille was a student of Léon Bonnat at the Paris School of Fine Arts. He exhibited for the first time at the Salon de la Société des artistes français in Paris in 1899. He became a member of the Société nationale des beaux-arts in 1903 and its secretary in 1904. In 1905, he won the big gold medal at the Munich International Exhibition. The same year, his friend Edmond Rostand entrusted him with the decoration of his villa in Cambo. He then became known as a portrait painter and received numerous commissions. He was made a knight of the Legion of Honor in 1910. His painting can be compared to that of Carolus Duran (1837-1917), a famous painter of the belle époque.
Henri Caro-Delvaille emigrated to the United States in 1913 and settled in New York, moving towards a more Art Deco style. He was a central figure in artistic, literary and musical circles on both sides of the Atlantic, from Paris to New York.
Our painting is an important work by Caro Delvaille. It is a very large format, probably commissioned to decorate a literary salon. The posture of the very elegant young woman is superb: the line of the body draws a diagonal which allows a perfect composition. It is also worth noting the care given to the skin tone, the details of the hands and the face. Finally, the transparencies of the clothes are much more accomplished than in the classical family portraits of Caro-Delvaille. This painting was painted by Henry Caro-Delvaille on the eve of his departure for the United States, most likely in Paris.
This painting decorated a mythical bar-restaurant, "le Mathis" held by Gérald Nanty. With Castel and Régine, Nanty was the third king of the Parisian nights, from the 60s to 2010. He frequented the fashion designers Valentino, Saint-Laurent and Gaultier, writers like Sagan, artists like Bernard Buffet, and showbiz stars from Amanda Lear to Manouche or Thierry le Luron. Its fashionable clubs were the "Club 65", the "Bronx", the "Colony" and finally the "Mathis" on rue de Ponthieu where, until its closure in 2017, people, actors and the French audio-visual landscape met.