Portrait of Madame Raoul-Alfred Philippe

Madame Raoul-Alfred Philippe


Like the Portrait of Madame Mestayer, this one is a happy marriage of technical simplicity and freshness of inspiration. Née Lucie Ingle, Madame Philippe married Monsieur Philippe in Sandgate, England.

Born in 1849, she gave her spouse four children before dying in 1881. Here Delaunay has aimed at a psychological portrait of his sitter, contrasting her discreet melancholy and pensive air with the gorgeous colours of the fabrics: a range of blues (the background curtain, the lacework) harmonises with the rich black of the dress, while the frilled collar and white lace inject a joyful note – as does the yellow cushion, discreetly echoed by the rose pinned to the bosom.

The bracelets and rings indicate the respectability of the wearer, who seems to be toying with the string of a fan – and, in doing so, conjuring up Mallarmé's poems about fans.

Portrait of Madame Raoul-Alfred Philippe
Oil on canvas
81 x 65 cm
S.D.B.L: J.-E. Delaunay 1877
Marcel Philippe Bequest, 1967
Inv. 967.5.1.P.