Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Modern, Even Still

Jacques-Henri Lartigue's 1930 portrait of Renée Perle.

On March 13th Sotheby's Amsterdam will host its Photographs sale, featuring over 300 lots by some of the 20th century's most recognizable names - and not just the names of the artists, but the names of their subjects, as well.

In 1930 Jacques Henri Lartigue met Romanian model Renée Perle on a Paris street. A chance meeting that resulted in a two-year affair with a muse he would revere as an angel and document in countless images.

He was mesmerized and wrote in his diary, "She is beautiful...The small mouth with the full painted lips! The ebony black eyes. From under her fur coat comes a warmth of perfume. The head looks petite on her long neck."

The couple lived a glamorous life, enjoying the energy of the post-war years and blissfully yet unaware of the one that would follow. Their years together were a perpetual vacation in France's most decadent cities: for sunshine, Cannes and Juane-les-Pins and for skiing, the mountains of Biarritz.

Lartigue photographed many other fashionable women (and women he loved), but none so riveting as Perle, whose sleek hair and figure, trademark bracelets, two toned-manicured nails, and simple, sleeveless tops summed up '30s style. "Around her," he wrote, "I see a halo of magic." She was modern, sexy, streamlined and powerful. The very essence of Art Déco design.

Lot 26
Jacques-Henri Lartigue (1894-1986)
Renée Perle
Silver print, signed in ink with the photographer's blind stamp, 1930, printed later
Approximately 10 x 13 in.
3,000 - 5,000 €

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