“John Sargent’s ‘Portrait of a Couple'”
John Sargent’s ‘Portrait of a Couple'”
John’s painting paired the couple in their prime
Young Alice is Paul’s ‘lily, lily fair’.
John Sargent strives for images, ideal.
‘La Belle Epoque’ meant beauty in their time.
Impressionistic art has valued place.
John’s pair exhibited beyond that date.
Paul’s talent with his art had early date.
Monet, Manet, were friends in happy prime.
But father disapproves the artist’s place
and Helleu’s state of mind was only fair.
So, Sargent helps his young friend at that time.
Paul’s art becomes society’s ideal.
Thus John and Paul form friendship that’s ideal.
They find each other at an early date.
John Singer; twenty-two; Paul’s teenage time.
Paul’s fear of hunger stresses in his prime.
John Sargent bought Paul’s paintings; priced them fair.
Infused enthusiasm in Paul’s place.
Grand Central Staion is a New York place
and in a wide alcove is Paul’s ideal
with astrological depiction fair
that he is asked to paint upon that date.
That gracious time; ‘Belle Epoque’ in its prime
where Proust and fashion’s ladies spent their time.
Paul met young Alice at an early time.
At age fourteen she found, with Paul, her place
as model fair and lovely in her prime.
At sixteen, marriage formed was their ideal.
Thus linked together, happy on that date;
their marriage was a lasting love affair.
Their portrait represents ‘Belle Epoque’ fare.
Where artist, Paul, paints in that era’s time.
We see him on that elegant, bright date.
Impressionistic light falls on their place.
We understand John’s painting as ideal:
a couple whom he loves and calls it prime.
The painting’s place, a memoir that’s ideal.
It’s canvas linked upon that date and time:
‘La Belle Epoque’; fair painting in John’s prime.
Form of Poem: Sestina.
Paul Cesar Helleu Sketching with his wife (1889) by American Artist, John Singer Sargent.
Location: Fladbury Rectory, Pershore, England.
Period: La Belle Epoch (the beautiful time) to Roaring Twenties
Alice Guerin, married age 16 (her daughter, Paulette, lived to be 104 years old in 2009) Paul Cesar Helleu, born 1859, died, peritonitis, 1927 (age 68). Dry point pastel, he drew on a copper plate with stylus. Impressionism. Monet was his friend. He had Manet and Cezanne hanging in his bedroom. Other friends: Boldini, Proust. Of Proust, their daughter( Paulette Helleu Howard-Johnston) stated : “Oh, Proust! We thought nothing of him. He was a little man sitting in the corner.” Paul Helleu, her father, painted Astrological ceiling in Grand Central Station. Helleu was a society portraitist in France, like Charles Dana Gibson in America.