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HENRY VICTOR LESUR (b. 1860, fl. 1887-1900) Silk and Satin Images of romance and gaiety abound in the art of the 18th century through the works of Watteau, Boucher and Fragonard. The idle rich, dressed in silks and satins, were captured in their beautifully groomed gardens or elegant interiors in situations that captured the imagination with stories of love and romance. Many of the late 19th century artists looked back to the 18th century with enthrallment. Artists like Charles Soulacroix, Vittorio Reggianini, Maurice Leloir, Edouard Toudouze, Jean Meissonier, Marcus Stone, Johann Hamza, Luis Jiminez y Aranda and Henry Victor Lesur, who came from diverse cultural backgrounds, were among the many artists who chose to paint these beautifully detailed costume paintings. The artist Alfred Stevens once remarked that: the public are attracted to costume subjects in the same way that they fall in love with the fancy dress of a masked ball. Henry Victor Lesur was born in Roubaix on April 28, 1863 and received his formal training in the atelier of Francois Flameng - a professor at l'Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Under his tutelage, Lesur received the academic training he needed and developed a love for highlife genre (costume) subjects. Throughout the 1880's and 1890's Lesur exhibited a number of paintings at the Paris Salon: among them were Portrait de M.J. Stirling Dyce (1888); Portrait de M.M. Caplain (1890); Portrait de M. Alfred Loreau, Député du Loiret (1892) and Portrait de Mlle . Wanda de Boncza …(1895). It is interesting to note that most of the works he exhibited were portraits, whereas most of the works one sees today feature pretty women and handsome men dressed in 18th century costume conversing in a garden or walking through a market place. Lesur's highlife genre paintings are filled with light and color. The figures are adorned in clothing made of rich satins and silks, which shimmer and shine as the sunlight illuminates their deep jewel tones. They are often captured in conversation and, whether lovers or just friends, appear to be enjoying their time together. As with many of his contemporary highlife genre artists, Lesur often painted these works on small wood panels, creating a more intimate work and a need for careful examination by the viewer. Lesur received a third class medal at the Salon in 1887 where he exhibited his work entitled Saint Louis enfant Distribuant des Aumônes and bronze medals at the Exposition Universelles of 1889 and 1900.