Oil on canvas
17 3/4 x 12 1/2 inches
(45.1 x 31.8 cm)
Abbéma (French 1853-1927)
Louise Abbéma was born in Étampes, Essonne. She began painting in her early teens, and studied under such notables of the period as Charles Joshua Chaplin, Jean-Jacques Henner and Carolus-Duran. She first received recognition for her work at age 23 when she painted a portrait of Sarah Bernhardt, her lifelong friend and possibly lover. She painted portraits of contemporary notables, as well as panels and murals which adorned the Paris Town Hall, the Paris Opera House, and numerous theaters including the “Theatre Sarah Bernhardt” and the “Palace of the Colonial Governor” at Dakar, Senegal. She was a regular exhibitor at the Paris Salon, where she received an honorable mention for her panels in 1881. Abbéma was also among the female artists whose works were exhibited in the Women’s Building at the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago where Sarah Bernhardt’s sculptural portrait bust of Abbéma was also exhibited . Many of her works showed the influence of Chinese and Japanese painters, as well as Berthe Morisot and Édouard Manet. Among her best known works are The Seasons, April Morning, Place de la Concorde, Among the Flowers, Winter, and portraits of actress Jeanne Samary, Emperor Dom Pedro II of Brazil, Ferdinand de Lesseps, and Charles Garnier.
Abbéma was also an accomplished printmaker, sculptor, and designer, as well as a writer; she made regular contributions to the journals Gazette des Beaux-Arts and L’Art. Among her many honors was nomination as “Official Painter of the Third Republic.” She was also awarded a bronze medal at the 1900 Exposition Universelle and in 1906 made a Chevalier of the Order of the Légion d’Honneur. Abbéma died in Paris in 1927.