My fascination with Renée Perle, Jacques Henri Lartigues most famous muse continues. She is almost as mysterious as the Mona Lisa, we know very little about her. She was with Lartigue for two years and she painted, I suspect she was influenced and encouraged by Lartigue and the artistic crowd he ran around with, she probably felt she needed to explore her own artistic capabilities. These photographs by Lartigue are of Renée in Lartigues studio in Paris with her work. The paintings are naive and as you can see she had a tendency to paint portraits in her own image, whether this was because she was narcissistic or merely practising with what she new best and felt comfortable with is something we shall probably never know.
I would love to know what happened to her after her break up with Lartigue, the only information that I have managed to unearth is she died in the south of France in 1977. She must have married as she did have a step daughter who had an oil painting of Renée, all Renées carefully preserved belongings and collections were dispersed by the Paris auction house Tajan in 2000 and 2001. One thing we do know is that she has been immortalised by Lartigues photographs. Renées image, great personal style and mystique continue to inspire...
Alexi Lubomirski for German Vogue March 2009
Strange to think if Lartigue had not met Renée by chance in Paris in 1930, she would be a forgotten lady, sunk without trace.