Maurice Leloir (1851-1940)
Maurice Leloir's very successful career was based not only on his watercolours and illustrations such as those he did for Guy de Maupassant's Bel Ami, Alexandre Dumas' Les Trois Mousquetaires but also upon his vast knowledge of costumes. This specialty served him well in the sets he designed for the plays of Sarah Bernardt, André Antoine and Firmin Gémier. During his lifetime he was the founder of the Société de l'Histoire du Costume which is still active in Paris today. It was his donation of costumes made in 1920 to the city of Paris which formed the basis of the Musée Municipal du Costume, today the Musée Galliera. At the time of Leloir's death at the age of 86, he was just completing his Dictionnaire du costume, which remains an essential reference for the history of costume to this day. From 1890 to 1940, Leloir was the leading expert on French costume, especially dating from the 18th century. The present watercolours and drawings demonstrate the artist's wit and theatrical flair.
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