The sitter for this portrait is Marguerite Folin, who was the sister of Brockhurst’s first wife Anaïs. Like a renaissance old master portrait, Brockhurst has placed the sitter in a beautiful landscaped background.
The beauty of a study like this is to see the underdrawings on the garments, revealing to us exactly what Brockhurst found necessary to establish as preparatory guidelines for the portrait.
On the reverse of this portrait is a drawing of a landscape.
Brockhurst was a British-born painter and etcher who became an American citizen in 1949. He was born in the Edgbaston district of Birmingham he entered the Birmingham School of Art at the age of twelve and, in 1907, entered the Royal Academy Schools in London. Precociously gifted, an excellent draughtsman, and a fine craftsman, Brockhurst won several prizes at the Royal Academy Schools. A travel scholarship allowed him to visit Paris and Italy, where the art of the Italian Renaissance proved to have a lasting influence on his work. In 1937 he was elected an Academician of the Royal Academy.
Although he portrayed men, he excelled in his portraits of women. His skill and technique enabled him to depict textures such as lace, fur and hair, with a beauty and elegance. He went on to have a highly successful career as a society portraitist, first in Britain and then in the USA, where he settled in 1939, working in New York and New Jersey.
During the 1930s and 1940s he was greatly celebrated as a portraitist, painting society figures such as Marlene Dietrich and the Duchess of Windsor. He is best known for his portraits of glamorous women, painted in an eye-catching, dramatically lit, formally posed style similar to that later associated with Annigoni. Many of these were modelled by his first and second wives.