Liss Llewellyn Fine Art - 20th Century British Art

Louis Buisseret (1888 - 1956)   BIOGRAPHY

Portrait of Mary Louise McBride (Mrs Homer Saint-Gaudens), 1929
Framed (ref: 2729)

Signed and dated

Oil on Canvas, 36 x 25 1/2 in. (91 x 65 cm.)


In its original Italiante frame

Exhibited:  A typed label attached to the stretcher reads: 'Cleveland - Chicago / Belgium / Catalogue No. 289'.   It is probable that this refers to the exhibition 'Contemporary Belgian Painting, Graphic Art and Sculpture', which was held at the Art Institute of Chicago,  May 1 - June 1, 1930.

The sitter, Mary Louise McBride, was the second wife of the critic, stage director and writer Homer Saint-Gaudens;  they were married in Pittsburgh in 1929, the year this portrait was painted, so it may be considered as a twentieth-century contribution to the long tradition of 'Marriage Portraits'.   Homer Schiff Saint-Gaudens (1880-1958) was the son of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the great American sculptor and his wife Augusta Fisher Homer.   The elder Saint-Gaudens was born in Dublin of mixed Irish-French parentage, and met his wife whilst studying in Rome.   Their son, Homer, was born in Roxbury, Massachusettes, where he is buried, but he lived the latter part of his life in Florida (his address in the American Dictionary of National Biography is given asBox 246, Route 2, Miami, FL.).

As a young man Homer Saint-Gaudens served as assistant editor of a New York periodical, The Critic, and then as managing editor of Metropolitan Magazine.   He was stage director for Maude Adams in 'Legend of Leonora', 'Kiss of Cinderella', etc 1908-17, and director of production for 'Beyond the Horizon', 'The Red Robe', and other shows, 1919-21.    He was appointed Assistant Director of Fine Arts at the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh in 1921, and promoted to Director the following year, a post he held until 1950, though his time there was interrupted by active service in the 1st Camouflage Unit of the American Expeditionary Force during World War Two.   He was widely decorated for both his war service and his services to art:  he was the recipient of the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart (USA);  Officier du Legion d'Honneur and Croix de Guerre (with Palm) (France);  Commander of the Hungarian Order of Merit; Chevalier of the Order of Leopold (Belgium).   He was also Corresponding Member of the Royal Academy, London.

His publications include many articles as well as Reminiscences of Augustus Saint-Gaudens and The American Artist in his Times.

Mary Saint-Gaudens outlived her husband dying in 1974, after which the portrait passed to relatives, and remained in family possession until 2008.

Louis Buisseret (1888 - 1956)

Louis Buisseret was born in Binche (Hainaut) in 1888.   He studied at the Mons Académie under Emile Motte and Louis Joseph Greuse, before going to Brussels where he continued his studies under Jean Delville and Herman Richir.   In 1910 he was placed second in the Painting section for the Prix de Rome, which he won the following year for Engraving.   He was much influenced by his time in Rome and Benezit Dictionary of Art (Grund 2006) records that 'He painted according to a theory he inherited from Italian painting which he described as that of "sequences" or "static compositions".'   In 1928 he was one of the founding members of the Nervia group of artists, and the following year was appointed Principal of Mons Académie;  a post he held until 1949.   He died in Brussels in 1956.

See all works by Louis Buisseret