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Sampling of works by 
Antonio de la Gandara

Anne Catherine Wilms
(Mrs. de La Gandara, artist's first wife)

Comte Robert de Montesquiou
c. 1892

Portrait Melle L
c. 1892 or 1893

Portrait Madeleine Morlet

Sarah Bernhardt Portrait
Thumbnail only

Luxembourg Garden
exhibited in 1892

Little Girl in a Yellow Dress
(artist's daughter Raymonde) 

Profil Droit de Femme

Madame G B [Guillaume Beer]
Thumbnail only

Madame Pierre Gautreau

Portrait Comtesse Mathieu de Noailles
(nee Anna Princess de Bassara-Brancovan)

Picture of  Leonor Uriburu of
Anchorena and their son Emilio

Portrait Madame G
exhibited in 1905

Charlotte Saint-André
(artist's second wife)

Sarah Bernhardt in L'Aiglon

Portrait Anselme Mortreuil

La Déclamation de Don Quichotte à Sancho Pancha

"Don Quixote" 
(as he saw himself: protector of the poor, the orphans and the oppressed.
c. 1912

Ida Rubinstein
Antonio de la Gandara 
French portrait painter

A prominent Parisian artist during La Belle Epoque, Antonio de la Gandara established a lucrative clientele among the wealthy elite of the city. Almost strictly a portrait artist who worked mostly in oils and pastels, though he also executed drawings in charcoal and pencil.

He was a big fan of Whistler, and often (like his mentor) isolates his sitters against a neutral background, thus endowing them with a striking and often mysterious quality.

Paintings such as  Mme Sarah Bernhardt (1892), Comte Robert de Montesquiou (c. 1892) and Mme Gautreau in (1898) would cement his reputation as a painter of the highest order in the elite. His work was widely acclaimed by the critics and La Plume devoted a special issue to him on 15th April 1901.

He is often put in the company of Boldini, Helleu, Tissot, and Jacques-Emile Blanche.

At the age of fourteen he entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts (1878) and studied with Jean-Léon Gérôme and Cabanel from 1876 to 1881 -- two of the preeminent teachers at the time. The following year (1882) he made his début at the Salon of the Société des Artistes Français with a portrait of Melle Dufresne. In the 1884 Salon (the same year as John Singer Sargent's Madame X) he received an honorable mention and in the Paris World's Fair of 1889 a bronze medal. Throughout the '90s, he reached the height of his critical success, showing works at the Salons of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, and then from 1892 at the Salon de la Société Nationale and at the gallery of Durand-Ruel.

It would be at the 1900 Paris World Fair, when La Gandara showed his earlier painting of Mme Sarah Bernhardt (1892) that he would be awarded the silver medal, made Chevalier of the Legion of Honor and a member of the jury of the Champ de Mars. 

The Masters he was often compared to by his contemporaries were Velasquez, Gainsborough, and of course, his friend Whistler.

When he painted the incomparable Comte Robert de Montesquiou (whom was also his friend and a source of many referrals for a time) it was around the same period Whistler painted Montesquiou in Paris -- Whistler's last large portrait (1892). It's revealing of his friendship that Whistler used La Gandara's studio at de rue Monsieur-le-Prince for his portrait.

Rumour had it that La Gandara had an extended affair with Madame Gautreau after he painted her in early 1898 -- she was by then thirty-nine years old. 

In 1905 he painted a Portrait Of Romaine Brooks a prominent member of the American artistic community in Paris near the beginning of her fame and popularity. The painting was widely known and reproduced in Les Arts (1919)

La Gandara, the father of three daughters, married twice, first to Anne Catherine Wilms, second to Charlotte Saint-André (1909).

From: "The Eldorado of the Portrait Painter" Munsey's Magazine New York - signed by Charles H. Caffin.
[Unfortunately, I do not have the date (1904 ??? the portrait of Mrs. Burke-Roche was first exhibited in 1897) or issue number.]

A few years ago an exhibition was held in New York of portraits by Antonio de la Gandara, a Spaniard who lives in Paris. Among the pictures was a portrait of Mrs. Burke-Roche. The treatment of a full-sized standing figure in a narrow canvass, originally derived from Velasquez, was made popular by Whistler, and it is the latter's portraits which Gandara's recall. This need not imply that the Spaniard has been a copyist of the older artist, but only that he sought for similar things through somewhat similar means. And the thing sought by both is the very antithesis of what Zorn and Sargent seek.

By comparison, the latter painters are intent upon the obvious; while Gandara, like Whistler, aims at subtler quality which pervades the thing seen, as fragrance clings around the flower. I think a study even of the reproduction of this portrait makes the difference clear. It exhibits a certain mystery; piques our imagination, and does not wholly satisfy it. It is very stimulating to have a man's thigh represented, as in Cleveland portrait, with such actuality that one feels one could pinch it and find it solidly elastic. Sargent's portraits, with an abundance of variety, suggest a corresponding enjoyment of the appearance of things; but it is quite possible to grow weary of obviousness; to realize that what is most interesting in man and woman is neither their clothes nor what is visible on the surface. Then it is that the man who has imagination enough to feel that there is allurement in what is not appreciable to sight and touch, attracts us. Gandara is one of these.

In his love of the long sweep of line, such as Velasquez drew, he may have taken certain liberties with the neck of this lady; but, if so, it has been to increase our enjoyment, as it did his, in - shall I call it ?- the vigorous languor of this tall, flower-like form, clipped so closely by its white stain costume. The portrait has a distinction, not merely of technical style, but of personality. Further, it has what the French call diablerie; not the wanton kind, but that unexpectedness and flavour, appreciable yet evasive, which envelopes a beautiful woman.


From: Xavier Mathieu 
Date: Sat, 26 Jul 2003

Hi from France,

My Great Uncle Antonio de la Gandara was a famous portrait painter from 1882 to 1917 when he died. I'm doing the same as you are doing with Sargent whom he knew. They shared the same model mme X alias Mme Gautreau. He attended the exhibition of his painting in the US in NY and Boston in August of 1898 where he met Sargent. I'm looking for any information about his other works which are in the US or elsewhere such as its portraits executed of Samule Montgomery Roosevelt or a quantity of his oils sold or acquired on this side of the Atlantic. 

If you could help me I will appreciate

Date: March 22, 2004 

I'm currently working with the French postal authorities to bring about a stamp dedicated to Antonio de La Gandara. I'll keep you informed.

Date: Sep 27, 2005

For years, the Antonio de La Gandara family has been active in promoting his memory and we finally have a website dedicated to him.

Enter Gallery 


A very special thanks to Xavier Mathieu, a friend of the JSS Gallery, for help with images and information.


By:  Natasha Wallace
Copyright 1998-2005 all rights reserved
Created 7/31/2003