Miss Mathilde Maison, 1858


Mademoiselle Mathilde Maison by Hippolyte Flandrin, 1858

The portrait of Mlle. Mathilde Maison, sister of the Comtesse Maison, is a simple and very agreeable portrait of a young woman holding a carnation. It created quite a stir when it was exhibited at the salon of 1859. At once dubbed “the young girl with the carnation,” it precipitated the burdensome back-swing of the double-edged sword of fame. Already fatigued by overwork, Hippolyte lamented to his brother: “. . . My life becomes more and more harassing. In addition to the old tasks which more than filled it, I am now a la mode! As I told you before, the success—absurd, because it was beyond bounds — of two portraits has brought about this glut of applications. I have refused at least one hundred fifty since the last Exhibition, but there are certain princes, ministers, etc., who demand, or command, with a persistence which drives me to despair, and to whom I submit with so bad a grace, that I am visibly dwindling away. It is finished, I have ceased to be a painter! Farewell to study, and to that delightful hope of improvement that kindles all one’s vigor and strength. This sort of good fortune crushes me, and I wish I knew how to get free from it, of which I have no hope! And yet, if even that were all! . .”

source: Stephen Gjertson Galleries

Leave a Reply