L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Eva Perón, portraits by Numa Ayrinhac

The official portrait of Argentina's President and First Lady, 1948.

I adore this painting; it's remarkably glamorous and ridiculous in equal measure.  Evita, bejeweled and with her figure wonderfully and impossibly "corrected", swoons fetchingly, clinging to the manly arm of the ham-faced President of Argentina - having done more than anyone to bring her husband to power.  Her pose is characteristic of her public persona in relation to Perón - fawning and passive - while ironically, tellingly, the gorgeously rendered satin sweep of her lavishly trained gown becomes the focal point of the painting.

I love how the lighting and the pose conspire to give us a spot-lit glimpse of the dainty, beautifully-shod foot.
Eva wearing the gown shown in the painting; it was the creation of celebrated French designer Jacques Fath.
The painting and the original gown displayed together.

Ayrinhac painted several portraits of Evita.  I haven't been able to find any information about the whereabouts of the next four, if in fact any of them survive.  They all display the same charming "figure correction".  I would love to see - have seen? - these in color.

A print of the best known portrait of Evita, which was painted in 1950. Widely
reproduced, it is only known now through those reproductions, as the original
was purportedly destroyed during the 1955 coup that ousted Perón.
The image was used both for the cover and frontispiece of Eva's best-selling autobiography,
"The Reason of my Life", published shortly before her death in 1952.
The same painting was used as a basis for several variations.
One of the posters that were a constant in Buenos Aires during the Perón years, this one heralding Evita as the "refuge of the humble".


Numa Ayrinhac (1881, Aveyron – 23 March 1951, Buenos Aires), Franco-Argentine artist.  At the age of five, he moved with his parents to the new French colony of Pigüé, Argentina.  He specialized in landscapes and portraits, but is best known as the official artist of the Peróns.

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