MEMPHIS, TENN.- Dixon Gallery and Gardens
announced that Jacques-Émile Blanche's large and beautiful 1890 portrait of Eugenia Huici Arguedas de Errázuriz will serve as a continuing reminder of John Buchanan's leadership of the Dixon. John E. Buchanan, Jr. was director of the Dixon from 1986 through 1994, a period of great vitality at the museum. When he passed away in late 2011, Buchanan was director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
Eugenia Huici Arguedas de Errázuriz (18601954), the subject of Blanches striking pastel portrait, was a famous beauty, muse, and patron of the arts in fin-de-sičcle Europe. When Blanche painted her in his London studio, she was a young wife and mother but also a wealthy and cultured Chilean expatriate traveling frequently between Paris, Biarritz, and London. She is pictured here as elegant and modest, fashionable but tasteful, and strikingly attractive. John Singer Sargent painted her four times. She would also be portrayed by Paul Helleu, Giovanni Boldini, William Orpen, and Pablo Picasso among others.
Jacques-Émile Blanche (1861-1942) was a fashionable portraitist and the painter of choice among leading cultural figures in France and England, including Marcel Proust, Claude Debussy, Edgar Degas, James Joyce, and many others. His ambitious work in pastel during the early 1890s coincides with a growing interest in the medium by other notable French artists in that moment.
Dixon director, Kevin Sharp, remarked, We considered a number of beautiful and interesting works before settling on Blanches Portrait of Eugenia Huici Arguedas de Errázuriz. It has the look and feel of an object John Buchanan might have chosen. Obviously, its an important acquisition for the Dixon on more than one level. The work is on view now in the Dixon Gallery and Gardens.