Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Henri Boutet & His Ladies of Paris

Last week I discovered the world of Henri Boutet, a French artist.  Born in Saint Hermine March 21, 1851, he became a renown as le petit maitre au corset or the master of the corset.  A nickname given to him because of his penchant for painting the ladies of Paris, from charming shop keepers to the sophisticated femme élégante.

Boutet's work embodies the genre "la parisienne"  using etching, drypoint, and engraving.
The illustration above is part of a book,  Autourd'Ellesthat Henri Boutet published in 1899.  The book showcases women going about their days with titles such as Lunch, Flowers, the Earring, and Sleep. 
 He limited his early editions to twenty until he discovered the "eau-fort synthetique" technique, which simulated the more expensive ways of printing for less money.  Now he could market to a wider audience that appreciated his talents.  Besides wandering the streets, cafes, and public places of Paris searching for subjects to capture, Boutet illustrated for magazines, almanacs, and even restaurant menus.  A search will turn up a veritable bevy of wonderful artwork.    

In 1902 the now successful illustrator created a two volume book chronicling 19th Century Parisienne fashion.  He used dry point etching and hand colored the plates creating a soft watercolor look.  His attention to detail displays his fondness for his feminine subjects.  The book, Les Modes Feminines du XIX siecle, is a dreamy drift into the fashion of days gone by.  He limited the original collection of 100 fashions to just 600.   

I hope you enjoy Henri Boutet's Paris ladies of the early 19th century all from Les  Modes Feminines du XIX Siecle


Henri Boutet, considered an 'artist reporter' of La Belle Epoque, captured the essence of feminine through his Paris ladies simply going about life. He died in 1919 leaving behind a library of images for future generations to take delight in.   You can find 105 images from Les Modes Feminines du XIX Siecle on The New York Public Library Digital Gallery site.

I decided to stick to the illustrations of the early 19th century and the next ten images will be in the next post.  Please feel free to Pin or download the images.  I believe them to be in the Public Domain.

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