Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Philip Alexius de Laszlo - Portrait of Jean Garmany Brandt (b. 1867)

Price Realized

signed and dated 'de Laszlo/1928' (lower left)
oil on canvas
34 x 26½ in. (86.4 x 67.3 cm.)

This portrait was the last one de László completed of the Brandt family. Jean 'Janie' Champion Garmany was born to a prominent family in Savannah, Georgia. In 1887, she secretly married Heyward Hall McAllister, the youngest son of Ward McAllister, founder and leader of The Four Hundred. When their union was discovered in 1892, her father-in-law publicly disapproved of the match arguing that his son could not support her, and had no prospect of employment. In reality Ward McAllister had hoped that Heyward would marry someone with considerable wealth to alleviate his own financial troubles. The marriage was never consummated, and the young couple divorced in 1892.

Jean Garmany's mother took her to Europe and North Africa to avoid the press and the weight of the scandal. While walking in Egypt, Jean met and fell in love with a young banker, Augustus Brandt (1871-1952). Together they had two daughters, Jean (born 1900) and Gwendolen 'Gwen' (born 1904), and settled at Castle Hill, Bletchingley, in Surrey. There, they welcomed and supported for a time their nephew, the photographer Bill Brandt.

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