July 2021

Emile Deroy (1820-1846)

In a sketchbook acquired by a member of the Association, we discovered a friend of the Frere family: the painter Emile Deroy.
He died very young and, therefore, did not make a big splash in the Art history. Nevertheles, one of his artworks, “La petite mendiante rousse” (The little red head beggar) is exhibited in the Louvre Museum.

He was a student and admirer of Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863), as well as his best friend, the famous writer Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) he accompanied regularly during his Louvre Museum visits.
In 1844, he painted the Charles Baudelaire portrait visible in the Versailles French Story Museum.

At this time, Charles Baudelaire is still unknown. He lives in the Paris Pimodan Hotel with his black actress and singer mistress, Jeanne Duval. He only began to write but not any essential work yet. He dreamed about exotism and dandysm, preferring artificial paradises rather than “petit-bourgeois” Society in conflict with his artistic ascetism.

The Emile Leroy sketch we found in this sketchbook is probably another portrait of the poet. It’s also a testimony of the close relationship between the Frere Family and the artistic social sphere of the time.

Sketch from Emile Deroy
The little red head beggar
Jeanne_Duval from Baudelaire