17 August 2015

Portrait of Madame Jose-Maria de Heredia by Emile Lévy

This painting by Emile Lévy (29 August 1826 – 04 August 1890) was part of the “Mystery and Glitter. Pastels in the Musée d'Orsay” exhibition in Paris under the subtitle “Society Portraits – Suspended In Time”. 

It is a portrait of Madame José-Maria de Heredia (born Louise Despaigne), the wife of poet José-Maria de Heredia. It is dated at 1885 and is a representative example of Lévy’s famous portraits as well as of his contribution to the revival of the pastel technique in the late 19th century.

The soft colored Louis XVI style room, the elegant light pink evening gown and the classic pose add to the graceful result. Although the painting seems still and the pose conventional, the lady is actually moving while trying to fit one of her gloves, giving the impression that Lévy was there only to capture this moment.

Text by Nadia Economou