2.26.2010

Notes on week 21: The Princesse de Sagan was real

What had happened was that they had at once discovered in him a locked door, a reserved, impenetrable chamber in which he still professed silently to himself that the Princesse de Sagan was not grotesque, and that Cottard's jokes were not amusing;
 Princesse de Sagan (NY Times, 1908); Wiki (Fr.); Wiki (Eng.)

"The Walters watercolor is a study for a painting entitled Fête chez la princess de Sagan (1883, private collection), which was produced to commemorate a ball held in 1883 at the Sagan mansion near Les Invalides in Paris (now the Polish embassy). Therefore, the inscription on the back of the watercolor--"Study for a party at the Durazzo Palace, executed for Monsieur the Viscomte Henri Greffuhle"--is partially incorrect. Although this work was indeed in Greffuhle's collection, the nature of this image as a preparatory study causes us to question the viscount's role in its commission. It is more likely that he simply purchased the watercolor from the artist as a memento of the occasion for his wife, the comtesse Greffuhle.1 Moreover, the statement that the ball took place at the Durazzo Palace is misleading as the party occurred at the princess's Parisian home. The confusion, however, is easily explained by the fact that for the ball the princess had the entryway and grand staircase of the Durazzo Palace in Genoa reconstructed in her own house."