Friday, August 13, 2010

Jeffrey Bailey and Givenchy

Today's PB post I lay the blame completely at the feet of Hubert de Givenchy (pronounced gee-von-CHEE).
A shaggy dog story that requires your patience.
I left a comment on the Style Saloniste that I owned a watercolor sketch of Givenchy's salon. Terry of Square with Flare, big fan of Givenchy contacted me. "Is this image posted on your blog? I would love to see it". "Not yet Terry...I never thought of it. I'd have to think up a story to go with it”.
Et voila!
Back to the '90s, I spotted a gorgeous watercolor.
In a French magazine, Atmosphere, on Parisien watercolor artists.
I had to track down artist Jeffrey Bailey who is in fact American.
Turns out Jeffrey painted this preparatory 'sketch' whilst sitting right in Givenchy's salon. The final artwork, one of a series, made specialement for M. Givenchy, was a much tighter version, but I fell in love with the sketch. Somehow I twisted Jeffrey's arm to sell it to me. 
Jeffrey's loose yet precise washes are incredible.
I'm in awe.
So much detail described with such ease, economy and dash.
It's a delight to share Jeffrey's work with you.
I can't imagine living in this grand style, much less sitting amidst all this splendor and then painting it.
The Charmed Couple:The Art and Life of Walter and Matilda Gay is a lushly illustrated book about another American artist who also made it his specialty to paint interiors of great homes in France and New York. Edith Wharton, Henry James, Elsie de Wolfe to name a few of the 'grandees' painted by Walter Gay.
I've seen some exhibits of Gay's watercolors - exquisite non?
This one is only 7" x 9"
Musee Jacquemart-Andre Gay painted inside the Musee Jacquemart-Andree back when it was a private mansion. We'll have to be patient and wait for the show the Frick Museum is putting on in Spring of 2012 of Gay's works.

I've never tackled a full interior watercolor, but painting a vignette is loads of fun. This one from the Chateau Vaux le Vicomte
Merci for your patience dear PB readers - un gouter from the tea salon at the Jacquemart-Andree..
Jeffrey Bailey, where ever you are, I'd love to meet up again.


  1. I love learning something new when I read your posts. Jeffrey's paintings are beautiful!

  2. Merci beaucoups for pulling out your screwdriver to post that fantastic "study" of Jeffrey's! Trust your eye to spot a wonderful work! How do you manage to cover so much territory? You can't spend your entire day reading blogs and magazines - I know you spend some of it painting. And of course there is the stalking and searching for les macs. And that swimming pool. Are you really a group of 3 people, one for the blogs and magazines, one for the painting and one for the macs??? If so, then who does the swimming?
    Inquiring minds want to know.

  3. @Carol
    aren't Jeffrey's paintings beautiful and so are Walter Gay's.
    it's all about connections, connections

    That is a HUGE compliment coming from you, Oh Mistress of Multi-Tasking. I'm chuffed :)

  4. Carol, you really have made fall in love with watercolor since I started reading your blog. This just seals the deal! It is so interesting that one persons 'sketch' is another's 'work of art'. As always you are an inspiration.
    Liz (Libby) Bessel

  5. What a wonderful painting of Givenchy's room. As ephemeral as fashion is, Hubert de Givenchy has fallen off the radar, but people forget how important he is and that the indelible images we have of women wearing his dresses are because of him.

    This is wonderful material for a post and I am so happy to read the story. That image should definitely be in any future book on Givenchy. What a treasure. You are very lucky to have it, and I'm sure it is all the more precious since it took some persuasion to get it...not everything is for sale in life!

    Thank you so much.

  6. This was a great article.
    I love to hear about the artists that teach and inspire you. Fantastic.

  7. I was wondering if you would share what issue of Atmosphere it was that you found these artists with their wonderful interior watercolors in. I wanted to contact their US contact for the magazine to see if I might be able to secure a back issue and I thought it would help to know what issue you referred to in your blog. I enjoy your blog and although I don't get on the computer daily, I do feel that it is a treat to read and view your blog. Some day I will go to Paris-----------------

    Thank you so very much,


  8. The title of the article is:
    Et la couleur prend des ailes!
    But there is no date on the issue of Atmosphere..I was looking myself Sue :(
    crazy no?

  9. His interiors are fabulous, but your's are great, too!
    I love your paintings at the end of the post!
    Have a great weekend!

  10. Carol H.2:51 PM

    Love today's Paris breakfasts, oooh, the paintings!

  11. What a gorgeous post. I really admire the casual feel of the photos and your text. This is a terrific story, and thank you so much for the link to my post.

  12. gee-von-CHEE ??

    I always thought is was gee-von-shee....

  13. Looking at these glorious watercolors made me remember those little paint boxes I was given as a tot and how disappointing the colors were and how ugly whatever I tried to paint.

    Oh dear.

  14. WOW ... Carol, this was a great post ... I am so jealous that you own the sketch, how FAB!!! ... I loved every bit and wish I could find a book that had these watercolor picture inside. I do LOVE LOVE LOVE Mark Hampton's books of his watercolor interiors.

  15. I've seen both of those artists before, and I'm green with envy that you own one of those wonderful watercolors. One of my favorite subjects for artists to paint is interiors--these are all exquisite. Really fabulous, Carol!

  16. How brilliant. I always prefer the looser interpretations as, for my mind, they tend to have far more life and soul.

  17. Gorgeous, beautiful, vibrant! Thank you Carol for broadening my watercolor horizons. I still hope to one day splurge for a painting of yours...for now my fave Paris Petit Dejeuner mug will have to do.

  18. Thank you for this post. I stumbled on Jeffrey Bailey's work last year when I was ripping up some back issues of Veranda magazine for a collage....I was enthralled...I am in love with paintings of interiors.

  19. Oui, and just imagine all the people who stumble upon your work and are charmed and floored and need to look you up and make a purchase! It's cyclical! You are a star, too - just ask those fancy folks at you-know-where!!

  20. I am in awe, this is magic with a paintbrush!
    Immensely fascinating, Jeffrey's truly a master.

    Thank you, Carol, for this introduction to the work of these great artists!

  21. I look forward to seeing you in October !
    All forms of exposure are positive!
    My “fanclub” is pretty much limited to close family and friends- yet on the professional side, in professional circles, I do have somewhat of a reputation as a painter of trompe-l’oeil and other forms of mural decorative painting, as well as an ‘illustrator’ of room renderings, which I still do in watercolors for int. decorators, designers, and architects.


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