A Rare Beauty
A Rare Beauty c1871 by French Painter Hugues Merle (1823 – 1881); who specialized in scenes of maternal affection, childhood innocence and moral consequence.
This is a beautiful and enchanting portrait of a young French or Italian peasant girl with blue eyes and long curly black hair; that is wearing a red scarf about midway on her head that falls off to the back and is dressed in a yellow-orange dress which has silver stripes with red and black borders; with a red stripe overlay at the top.
This is a remastered digital art old masters reproduction of a public domain image that is available as a canvas print online.
Hugues Merle was born in 1822 in La Sône, France and around the age of 21 arrived in Paris, France where he studied painting under the French Historical and Portrait Painter Léon Cogniet (1794 – 1880).
Though little is known of Hugues early life it is assumed that he received some degree of art education before he arrived in Paris in 1843; because he began exhibiting at the Paris Salon in 1847 with his piece Portrait de L’auteur and in 1848 he exhibited the piece Légende des Willis.
As time went on Hugues reputation as a portraitist grew substantially during the 1850s; and as a successful and prominent painter he was able to attract serious art lovers that were looking to build their art collections.
One of these early collectors of art was th 4th Marquess of Hertford, Richard Seymour-Conway (1800-1870); who purchased his salon submission Reading the Bible in 1859.
During the 1860s, Huges client list of collectors included not only individuals from the European continent, but also American collectors, such as William Walters of Baltimore who commissioned The Scarlet Letter.