Painting of Mistress Fetching Millions in Auction

It was the time when the words like “Live-In” or “Open Relationship” were not part of ”Man and Woman” relationship. And a woman having affair with a man, married or unmarried, were branded her with one word “Mistress”. The word has stigma attached, and the relationship was not received with grace. But most of the artists, from the renaissance to the modern time, have cultivated such relationship, remaining out of their wed-lock. These relationships have gifted many beautiful paintings and portraits.

Sold for $30 Million. Everyone present was struck when the hammer in one of Sotheby’s auction fell for Modigliani’s portrait of Jeanne Hebuterne. The portrait that Modigliani painted in last days of his life was sold in $30 million in 2006.

Portrait of Jeanne Hebuterne, by Modigliani

Jeanne was believed to be painter Modigliani’s mistress. She had given birth of a daughter, too. When Modigliani died in 1920, Jeanne was pregnant. She had also ended her life tragically. Modigliani had painted several portraits of Jeanne. One of them is given here. [Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons]

Sold for $135 Million. But all time record of sale price of portraits of mistresses were created when Gustav Klimt’s painting, the portrait of Adele Bloch-Baur, was sold in $135 Million in the year 2007. The lady portrayed was wife of a sugar industrialist. Though the relationship of the artist and model were declared as “intellectual” by some of their relatives, they were believed to be much more closer than an intellectual relationship would require. This portrait is a masterpiece painted by Klimt.

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Baur, by Gustav Klimt

Klimt had taken full three years time to paint this portrait. He had used gold in painting the back ground. The main attraction of the portrait is the sensual gaze of the lady and the richly painted lips. The twisted hand of the lady suggests teh element of nobility. [Image courtesy Gustav Klimt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Wikimedia ]

BOUCHER: Painting Natural Beauty of Women, Painting the Mistress

Theme: Painting Clothless Women Figures. Paintings of Mistresses.

Painting is a process arranging colours creating emotions. It appeals to the senses of viewers, through visual communication. In western Europe, painting natural beauty of human body has been an artistic affair since long. Here we would see how Boucher had maintained his artistic and sensual relationship with the art of figurative painting.

Marie-Louise O'Murphy, Mistress to Louise XV of France, painted by Francois Boucher

The Figurative Art: Figurative painting has worked as an important ‘building block’ of art of painting. With the flow of the time river, since the fertile years of seventeen and eighteenth centuries, the skill of painting the natural beauty, especially of the female models, had become a true test of an artist’s painterly skills. Thus most of the famous painters who did concentrated on other subjects, too, had adopted the art of figurative paintings for some of his or her paintings. François Boucher (1703 - 1770), a French painter was among this class of the painters who adored the human beauties and painted it in its natural form.

The Artist: François Boucher was one of the most celebrated decorative artists of his time. His artwork was mainly in the Rococo style, showing his painterly prowess in portrait paintings and executing the beautiful landscapes. Boucher had got inspiration from the works by master artists like Watteau and Rubens.

Working on variety of subjects, his main occupation was the figurative paintings. Boucher had a huge collection of paintings. The subjects of mythology and religious paintings would also figured in his collection of the widely praised artworks.

The Art: During peak time of his artistic spell, the master painter Boucher had earned credit for his notorious paintings. It was perhaps due to his close relationship with the royal family and the king of France. Here in the above of his painting he had painted Marie-Louise O'Murphy. This lady was mistress to the king of France Louis XV. The paintings of Marie-Louise O'Murphy were executed in the Rococo style of paining.

In this painting, Boucher had depicted his artistic skill to the fullest degree. He had perhaps mastered painting the voluptuous female body; and that prowess came to help painting the king’s mistress. He wanted to send a message of neat beauty though his art, perhaps. The colours used and the painting of the surrounding articles helped the artists sending the said message of beauty.

Boucher had done the paintings of some odalisques, too. These odalisques were servents of the women who worked as concubines of for the sultan of king.


Odalisques were known as slave girls, too. They had no access to the bedroom of the kings. But if any of the odalisques proved to be more beautiful or became a good dancer, she would have got promotion. Thereafter she would get a proper place in harem, the collection of women who were either wives or concubines of the kings. this tradition was mainly in Turkey. Boucher had tried to depict the charm of an odalisque. (Images courtesy François Boucher [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Wikimedia Commons)

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