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Home > Paintings > Maurice Leloir (1853-1940) - The Coffee Merchant

Maurice Leloir (1853-1940)

The Coffee Merchant

Provenance: Georges Petit Gallery"Exhibition Maurice Leloir 1923"Collection of Monsieur Hersant
French School, watercolor on paper signed bottom right

Dimensions : H. 15 x W. 11 inches (With frame: H. 17.3 x W. 13.4 inches)

Maurice Leloir was born into a family of painters and illustrators. He was the student of his mother and then his brother. His mother, Héloïse, née Collin (1920-1873), was a designer for fashion prints. His brother, Louis (1843-1884), won deuxième prix in the prix de Rome in 1861. Maurice modeled his career after his older brother's.
When the war broke out in 1870, Maurice was not able to pursue his studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He turned instead to illustrating classical works, which developed his liking for antique costumes and especially costumes from the 18th century. This particular interest allowed him to become a master in this domain that was barely studied at the time. It was only studied by costume designers in theater, and historical painters. It is in this artistic atmosphere that the Leloir family was able to develop and thrive. They were connected to Edouard Detaille, Gustave Jacquet, François Flameng, Robert de Cuvillon, and Jules Worms. All of these men were portraitists and specialists in history paintings, and they would all collect numerous antique costumes in their workshops.

Maurice Leloir was asked to draw the costumes of the famous musketeers in a beautifully illustrated edition of a work by Alexandre Dumas published by Calmann-Lévy in 1894.
At that time, Leloir was considered an infallible master of historical scenes and due to his reputation was solicited by printers to create advertisements for department stores, spice shops, and hotels.
Up until the 1920's, his signature can be found on images for: the Bon Marché, labels and fans for La Bénédictine, Calvet wine, Clicquot champagne, and Planteur chocolate. Also, he was commissioned to do some decorative ensembles for Antonin Bordes' villa, Tijuca, in Saint-Jean Cap-Ferrat. In 1903, he did 18th century style scenes of the Trianon and Versailles for the villa Tijuca. In 1923, he did Louis XIV style scenes on the ceiling and friezes of the Marquise de Sévigné's Boulevard de la Madeleine tea room. Finally, Leloir was invited to come to Hollywood by Douglas Fairbanks in 1928 to create costumes and decor for the film, The Iron Mask.
Starting in the 1880's, he was known for his "archeological" meticulousness as a painter and costumer. Leloir also adhered to the wishes of the Union centrale des arts décoratifs and its exhibitions; as well as the contemporary creations of his local contemporary and historical museums. He also made sure not to forget the retrospective museums of the Expositions universelles. For the Exposition universelle of 1900, at the time, costumes and accessories were very important and numerous collectors were solicited, however, Leloir was always the most sought after.

Paris, Musée de l'Armée
Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France

E. Bénézit, Dictionnaire des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveurs, Gründ edition, 1999, tome 8, page 477.

Maurice Leloir - Le Pont au change, Paris - Paris, BnF Maurice Leloir - The Pont au Change, Paris - Paris, BnF