This painting is of a young girl dressed in a blouse with her blonde hair tied up in a dishevelled bun. She is sat on a Louis XVI-style lounge chair and has her legs crossed so she can rub her ankle. The way the clothes are scattered messily around the room, the way the young girl is half-dressed and her blonde dishevelled hair bring us an intimate portrayal of the model’s femininity.
During the 1904 Salon d’Automne exhibition, Renoir said that Albert de Belleroche was the ‘painter of women with dishevelled hair’. Albert de Belleroche liked showing women in their private world. The only thing we know about the model is her first name. The painting probably dates from the artist’s Parisian period.
The young Albert de Belleroche’s gift for drawing became apparent when he arrived in Paris with his mother and step father. He came from an aristocratic background and his mother, who hosted receptions attended by everybody who was anybody in her hotel on the Avenue Montaigne, signed him up straight away with the Carolus Duran studio. There he met John Singer Sargent, which led to a lifelong friendship. He frequented artistic cafés and the Montmartre area meeting figures such as Oscar Wilde, Renoir and in particular Toulouse-Lautrec. Lautrec’s model, Lili Grenier, became Albert de Belleroche’s exclusive model. She is portrayed in several paintings and lithographs in the Orange Museum collection.
From 1939, Albert de Belleroche’s son, William, who was a painter and writer, biographer of his father's friend Frank Brangwyn, convinced both Frank and his father to donate some of their work to France, in particular to Orange. The public showing of the works was inaugurated in 1949.