The Dancer

by Albert de Belleroche


Belleroche’s talent was recognized by his contemporaries – Degas owned three lithographs by Belleroche and in the early 1890s the French state acquired a painting for the Luxembourg Gallery. Roger-Marx, the critic who discovered Renoir, was amongst Belleroche’s fervent admirers, referring to him as ‘le peintre des femmes decoiffées’ (Gazette de Beaux-Arts,vol. XLX, January 1905). He held commercial exhibitions at the Goupil Gallery (1903), Graves, London (1906), Colnaghi’s (1941) and Walker Gallery, London (1942). As however he had no need to live from his art, he rarely took on commissioned portraits, instead choosing models and sitters who interested him. A room in the Musée D’Orange is dedicated to Belleroche.

DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 25.0 x 10.5 ins/ 63.5 x 26.7 cms

SIGNATURE: Signed lower right

MEDIUM: Oil on canvas



Catalogue No: 4824 Category:

This exceptional example from the 1880’s entitled The Dancer features Lili Grenier, de Belleroche’s model and mistress. The wife of René Grenier, a fellow-student of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec’s, Lily became famous through the artist’s depictions of her in his celebrated posters where she epitomised the Belle Epoch aesthetic. With her flaming red hair, sharp little fang-like teeth, milk-white complexion and tiny freckles, she was very attractive, and she gathered a host of admirers round her which included de Belleroche. Albert de Belleroche met Lili through his friend Toulouse-Lautrec and was immediately enchanted by her. She became his favourite model and later his mistress of ten years.

This oil on canvas appears in A.M. Hinds’ Albert de Belleroche; a selection from his works (The Commodore Press, 1947). Hinds observes that ‘in his paintings he belongs in spirit (as in association) to the French Impressionists, in the sense that Sargent described himself. Monet, Degas, Renoir, Carriere and Helleu are his nearest kin among French painters.’

From the subject matter through to the muted colour palette, here Degas’ influence is clear. Albert de Belleroche has created through his soft, loose brushstrokes and subject matter a romantic depiction of his beloved Lili.


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