Madame Paul Helleu Seated at Her Secretaire, Seen from the Back (1900). Paul César Helleu (1859-1927). Oil on canvas
Helleu’s wife Alice was his favourite model; she was charming, refined and graceful and his portraits of her are drawn with intimate sensitivity. In this portrait, Alice is depicted with her back to the viewer, sitting at a secretaire in her husband’s study, wearing an elegant white dress, which is in harmony with the colours of the room. Despite the fashion for sombre interiors, Paul and Alice Helleu decorated their homes entirely in shades of white.