Home > French Literature, Personal Posts, Proust, Marcel > Doesn’t she look like Odette Swann?

Doesn’t she look like Odette Swann?

When I was in Paris I visited the Musée Carnavalet. In the room full of paintings of La Belle Epoque, not far from the reconstitution of Marcel Proust’s room, (See Amateur Reader’s excellent post on this here) I noticed a painting by Louise Abbéma and I thought : “It’s Odette!”

  1. August 31, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    I’ve seen the movie with Ornella Muti not too long ago… It’s her face I see now when I think of Odette. That’s the trouble with movies based on books.


    • August 31, 2011 at 1:34 pm

      It was a good film.
      More than the face, it’s the lilac dress and the general elegance.


  2. August 31, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Yes! She looks like Odette!


    • August 31, 2011 at 1:46 pm

      Wait until the Sodome et Gomorrhe posts: I have Albertine in a café!!
      I loved this room in the Musée Carnavalet as I’m reading In Search of Lost Time. I felt surrounded by the characters and the atmosphere.


  3. August 31, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Marvellous painting. Can’t comment on the Odette likeness but the model’s character comes through the canvas, doesn’t it?


    • August 31, 2011 at 4:52 pm

      Some day you’ll read A L’Ombre des Jeunes Filles en Fleur and you’ll be able to comment on the likeness. 🙂


  4. August 31, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    I wanted to know the title of the painting. Is it a name, do you remember or a characteristic? It does look like a portrait.
    The color of the dress is gorgeous. What fascinates me is the fact that the painter was a woman.


    • August 31, 2011 at 5:05 pm

      It is called Elégante Place de la Concorde and it was painted circa 1894-1895.


  5. September 1, 2011 at 5:07 am

    I can see how that room would be most useful for the Proust reader. Odette could have worn that outfit, definitely.


    • September 1, 2011 at 8:50 am

      I spent some time watching the paintings about Les Champs Elysées, le Bois de Boulogne, fancy restaurants. It seemed that I could link each painting to a precise scene of In Search of Lost Time. A delightful time.


  6. September 10, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Have you come across this book? I have heard it highly recommended by admirers of Proust. Paintings in Proust: A Visual Companion to ‘In Search of Lost Time’

    Although finding paintings that ‘fit’ your personal visualisation is probably more fun 🙂


    • September 10, 2011 at 8:38 pm

      I didn’t know about this book. I’d probably like it even if I had a lot of fun with the Belle Epoque paintings.


  7. September 12, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    A lovely discovery. It’s the elegance of the whole piece isn’t it?


    • September 12, 2011 at 3:44 pm

      Yes and the way she’s looking at us.


  1. December 11, 2012 at 5:04 pm

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