Portrait of Madame Mestayer

Madame Mestayer


The Portrait of Madame Mestayer is a perfect illustration of the artist's mature style. Wife of the president of the Nantes Museum board, Madame Mestayer was a close friend of Delaunay and Toulmouche and a cultivated woman whose salon was frequented the city's intellectuals.

Delaunay's portrait is a meticulously subtle piece of work: the model stands out against a dark russet ground which gives her face remarkable presence. Her accessories – lace, flounces, pink ribbons – are carefully described and in frivolous contrast with the solemnity of the setting.

The subject seems to be taking off her bracelet, in a very Ingresque use of detail that draws our attention to her jewellery. In a muted sign of distinction, a dried flower endows her with a discreet éclat.

Portrait of Madame Mestayer
Huile sur toile
78 x 64 cm
S.D.B.R: Elie Delaunay 1871
Mestayer Bequest, 1940
Inv. 2270