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Picturing a World

Chinese cabinet

One of the pleasures of researching an historical novel is discovering themes (I didn’t know how infatuated with Asian art and objects artists and collectors were in the 19th C until I started reading up for Where the Light Falls) and new artists. Gustave de Jonghe (1829–1893) was a Belgian painter, who studied at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels and subsequently made his career in Paris. He often painted rich women in luxurious domestic settings like this one. He can be compared to Alfred Stevens and is useful for picturing haute bourgeoisie in the same way. No date is given for the picture, but from the molded corset and lack of a bustle, I’d guess it was right in Jeanette’s time period, ca. 1879. And I adore the dress! Wouldn’t it be fabulous for a New Year’s Eve party?
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