Comtesse de Luchaire
In the catalogue of the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874 there were 30 artists 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 mentions 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 de Montifaud, dame de Quivogne (1849-1912; iR26). Her review called ‘Exposition du boulevard des Capucines’ was quite positive (R87,p266-8). De Montifaud extensively describes one work of comtesse de Luchaire. She does so without further introduction, not mentioning she was not in the catalogue. But by mentioning comtesse de Luchaire the total of artistes participating in the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition comes on 30+1=31 artists. De Montifaud is quite positive in her review, especially of her rendering of the hand. Note worthy is that she mentions that comtesse de Luchaire already had received attention during exhibitions in London. Were these the exhibitions of Durand-Ruel? Are there titles en reviews known of the works she exhibited there?
De Montifaud writes this: ‘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; note: the translation is mine, helped by www.deepl.com; 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…’ ).
Moffett (R2,p123) only mentions that a 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. 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.
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 hors catalogue make that the total of artists partaking with the ‘impressionist’ expositions are 56+2 = 58. And that the total of women partaken are 4+2=6. Morisot and Cassatt are mostly mentioned, added with Marie Bracquemond. Jacques François, a pseudonyme for a woman who exhibited in 1876 + 77, is also completely unknown. Eva Gonzales, who never joined the ‘impressionist’ expositions, is more often mentioned than Jacques François, Comtesse de Luchaire and Comtesse de Rambure.
I will render here below pictures I found on Lieutenant de Lanciers. Especially François-Hippolyte Lalaisse was specialised in rendering military uniforms during the second Empire in France.
Additional references (=aR):
- antan.unblog.fr (site about uniforms in the Franco-Prussian war 1870-1)
- military-photos.com (page about the 6th regiment of the Second Empire)
- Wikipedia.fr (French page on the Garde Imperial; =iR4)