Portrait Of Madeleine Carroll To Be Auctioned In December

Christie’s auction included the portrait of the first “Hitchcock Blonde” Madeleine Carroll for bidding in December and estimated sales to be around $60,000 to $87,000.

A portrait of Madeleine Carroll heads to auction next month in Christie’s. Carroll is considered as the first “Hitchcock Blonde.” Christie’s estimated sales to be around $60,000 to $87,000 as per Reuters.

Hungarian artist Philip Alexius de László painted Carroll’s portrait in 1935. She starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s spy thriller film The 39 Steps in that same year.

Carroll became Hitchcock’s first blonde leading lady. She played a role in the director’s 1936 film Secret Agent as well. The term “Hitchcock Blonde” developed due to his obsession with female protagonists who were particularly blonde. Hitchcock had preferences of ‘the perfect woman’ through his female leads in his films.

Carroll turned into one of the world’s highest paid actresses at the time.

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More than 2,000 portraits done

De László received little formal education being brought up in a poor family. He began his journey in art at the age of 10 where a scene painter employed him. 

The painter attended the School of Applied Arts in Budapest and studied art.  He went to the Academy of Fine Arts, spent a year at the Académie Julian in Paris, and the Academy in Munich where he completed his studies for two more years.

De László met a fine arts official named Elek Lippich in late 1893 who secured portrait commissions for him. 

De László’s self portrait dated 1888
De László’s self portrait dated 1888/Photo via the National Portrait Gallery’s website

A solo exhibit of de László resulted in art commissions from King Edward VII. These included half-length portraits of the king and queen or the “Royal Collection.” The artist did portraits for former Hungarian prime minister Sándor Wekerle (1894) and the Emperor Franz Josef I (1898). His portrait of Pope Leo XIII won a gold medal in 1900.

De László calculated all his artworks and estimated to have done 2,700 portraits throughout his career according to the National Portrait Gallery.

Carroll was “such a star”

Christie’s dubbed the portrait as captivating and full of elegance, grace, and glamor. The auction company included it in their British and European Art sale in December.

The beautiful, sophisticated star that is Madeleine Carroll
The beautiful, sophisticated star that is Madeleine Carroll/Photo via Instagram @classic_bombshells

The portrait is named “Mrs Philip Astley, née Madeleine Carroll.”

Christie’s senior director in the British and European art department Peter Brown said de László painted the portrait when he was 66. Brown added that the painter was extremely keen to do the painting because Carroll was “such a star.”

The portrait of Madeleine Carroll goes to auction in December
The portrait of Madeleine Carroll goes to auction in December/Photo via Christie’s website

Carroll’s portrait exemplified de László’s sumptuous and painterly signature style. It made him one of the most famous portraitists that royals, politicians, artists and writers had favored. 

Christie’s London headquarters displays the painting currently and will go on until November 28.

Banner photo via Christie’s website.

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