Luchaire, Comtesse de




Comtesse de Luchaire

a vanished, female partaker of

the first ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874


The 31st partaker of the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874:
In the catalogue of the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874 there were 30 partakers mentioned (R2,p118-123;iR1). Contemporary reviews mention this number of 30 and some even report all the names (R87,p256-270). It is only Marc de Montifaud who mentioned in ‘L’Artiste’ on the 1st of May a ‘comtesse de Luchaire’. Marc de Montifaud was a pseudonym for a woman called Marie-Amélie Chartroule, dame de Quivogne (1849-1912; iR26). Her review called ‘Exposition du boulevard des Capucines’ was quite positive (R87,p266-8;R90I,p30). De Montifaud extensively described one work of Comtesse de Luchaire. She did so without further introduction, not mentioning Comtesse de Luchaire was not in the catalogue (=hc). But by mentioning her, the total of artists participating in the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition comes on 30+1hc=31 artists. De Montifaud is quite positive in her review, especially about the rendering of the hand. Note worthy is that she mentioned that Comtesse de Luchaire already had received attention during exhibitions in London. Were these the exhibitions of Durand-Ruel? Are there titles and reviews known of the works she exhibited there?


The review of ‘Marc de Montifaud’ (=Marie-Amélie Chartroule):
De Montifaud wrote this in her review: ‘Among the portraits, we will detach a ‘Lieutenant de lanciers’,  signed by comtesse de Luchaire, whose name already was the object of attention at exhibitions in London. When women aim for energy, they do not have half of it. The officer’s frame is solid, the chest high, firm, firmly camped (put down); the clear and decisive gesture, without keeping too much of the roundness that we insist on giving to military types, and which undermines distinction. Red pants, white travel coat (?) with royal blue bib (=chest strap), against which the polished steel of the helmet shines discreetly. From these three notes, white, blue, red, the artist has composed a clear harmony, but by slightly deafening the tones, so as not to leave them anything flashy (or screaming). The figure may be a little thinly shaped, but finely removed (or: delicately abated), with pale blond hair; it is necessary to notice the right hand which falls down along the trousers is of a curious raised paste. We know that the hand is the portraitist’s pitfall: here the hand is wonderful in strength and attachment. I will also mention the background of the landscape, of a broad character. All this painting is sustained, from beginning to end.’ (R87,p267;R90I,p30; Note: the translation is mine, helped by; Note: I assume that in the text there is an erratum and the ‘et d’une pâte en relief curieuse’ should be ‘est d’une pâte…’ ).

I will render here below pictures I found on ‘Lieutenant de Lanciers’ made by other artists to give an impression of what Comtesse de Luchaire might have exhibited in 1874. Especially François-Hippolyte Lalaisse was specialised in rendering military uniforms during the second Empire in France.

Comtesse de Luchaire maybe is Hélène Sahuguet:
In an article by Marie-Françoise Bastit-Lesourd on Marie Bracquemond Comtesse de Luchaire is extensively mentioned (aR4). In will render the highlights here below.
In 1878/09/08 the name Comtesse de Luchaire is mentioned in a local Normandy magazine called La Plage, feuille trouvillaise.

The author suggests that Comtesse de Luchaire maybe was Hélène-Victorine-Charlotte de Sahuguet d’Amarzit d’Espagnac, in short Hélène Sahuguet d’Espagnac. She was born 1841/03/09 in Paris. She was married with Charles Auguste Durand (=Durand de Neuville), who was also a painter. Her husband had died in 1870 in the battle of Sedan in the French-Prusian war. Maybe the exhibited painting was a tribute to him.
She married again in 1876 with her teacher of art, Evariste-Vital Luminais, born in 1821. He also was a painter and exhibited at the Salon from 1843-1890.
She would die 1911/02/28 at 63, Boulevard de Montmorency in Paris, aged 69.

Sylvie Patry, referring to Marie-Françoise Bastit-Lesourd, calls her shortly Hélène Durand, born d’Espagnac (1841-1911). That she exhibited at the Salon in 1869 +70 and that she maried Évariste Luminais in 1876 (R410,p157+285).


Exhibited art-works of Hélène Durand:
In the Salon database Mme Hélène Durand (born d’Espagnac) is mentioned to be born in Paris and living at Boulevard Lannes, 17 (Passy). Here I will render the works she exhibited:

S1868-899, Portrait de M. le comte de S…

S1869-844, Portrait de Mlles Augusta et Berthe D. L…

S1869-845, Portrait de Mme ***

S1870-946, Portrait de Mme la princesse de M…

S1870-947, “C’est le destin ; il faut une proie au trépas !”


Comtesse de Luchaire in other sources:
Moffett (R2,p123) only mentions that a certain Comtesse de Luchaire exhibited at the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition hc = hors catalogue = outside the catalogue. He also mentions the work ‘lieutenant de lanciers’, but doesn’t refer to the review of Marc de Montifaud. He also notes that this Comtesse de Luchaire was a pseudonym, but this can’t be derived from the review of De Montifaud. Moffett doesn’t mention anything else about this person.
The Salon database of Musée d’Orsay (iR1) doesn’t give results on the name Luchaire. Wikipedia (iR3) mentions a Denis Jean Achille Luchaire (1846-1908), but he was a historian, not a painter.
Furthermore no other source mentions Comtesse de Luchaire.


Women at the ‘impressionist’ expositions:
The review of Marc de Montifaud on Comtesse de Luchaire was quite extensive and positive. This was not so with the review on Comtesse de Rambure in 1886. But these two ladies who exhibited outside the catalogue seem to make that the total of artists partaking with the ‘impressionist’ expositions are 56+2hc=58. But probably Comtesse de Rambure is the same as Jacques François, which was a pseudonym for a woman, who is completely unknown. Morisot and Cassatt are mostly mentioned in sources on Impressionism, sometimes added with Marie Bracquemond. Eva Gonzales, who never joined the ‘impressionist’ expositions, is more often mentioned. So the total of women partaking the ‘impresssionist’ expositions are 4+2hc-1=5.
Note also ‘Dona Guyot‘ who contributed to the Société anonyme des artistes peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs, etc, but didn’t exhibit at the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874.


My main sources are Dayez (1974,p267=R87), Berson (1996I,p30=R90), Moffett (1984,p123=R2), Patry/Robbins (2024=R410,p157+257+258+285) and Google images (iR10) and the additional references (=aR). For the general references (=R) see and for the references to internet pages (=iR) see.

Additional references (=aR):

  1. (site about uniforms in the Franco-Prussian war 1870-1)
  2. (page about the 6th regiment of the Second Empire)
  3. (French page on the Garde Imperial; =iR4)
  4. (article by Marie-Françoise Bastit-Lesourd on Marie Bracquemond also mentioning Comtesse de Luchaire);


Recommanded citation: “Impressionism: Comtesse de Luchaire, a vanished, female partaker of the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874. Last modified 2024/06/15.”