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Portrait du couturier Jacques Fath
Oil on Canvas: 130 x 89 cm


Serge Ivanoff

Portrait du couturier Jacques Fath

Serge Petrovitch Ivanoff was born in Moscow in 1893 and showed artistic ability from a young age. On the family’s move to St. Petersburg, he took the opportunity to further his artistic studies by enrolling at the Imperial Academy of Arts in 1917, at the height of the Russian Revolution. The turmoil of the aftermath of these events prompted Serge Ivanoff, with his wife and two young children, to move permanently to Paris in 1922.

A talented portraitist, he quickly established himself in Paris and soon had the celebrities of the day commissioning him to paint their portraits, including Pope Pius XI, the dancer and choreographer Serge Lifar, poet Paul Valery, composer Arthur Honegger, and many notable Russian exiles now making their home in Paris. Between 1930 and 1950, he also regularly provided illustrations for the French journal L’Illustration, and painted a series of luminous and lyrical nudes.

In 1950 Serge Ivanoff moved to the U.S.A., again specialising in portraiture, including Eleanor Roosevelt and the diplomat Jefferson Caffery amongst his subjects. However, by the 1960s he had returned to Paris where he continued to exhibit regularly at the Salon des Indépendants, receiving a Gold Medal from the Minister of Cultural Affairs, André Malraux, in 1966. Serge Ivanoff died in Paris in 1983.

The subject of this portrait is the Parisian couturier Jacques Fath (1912 -1954), who along with with Pierre Balmain and Christian Dior was considered one of the most influential Post-War fashion designers. Born in 1912, Jacques Fath presented his first collection in Paris in 1937 and rapidly became known for dressing the chic, young Parisienne, with his innovative use of unusual fabrics and trimmings, and the promotion of the ‘crinoline’ evening gown in the early 1950s. His clients included Ava Gardner, Greta Garbo, and Rita Hayworth. Jacques Fath also designed costumes for several films, including those for Moira Shearer in the 1948 Powell and Pressburger film The Red Shoes, and for Kay Kendall for her role in the 1953 film Genevieve.

Jacques Fath died in 1954 of leukemia and the House of Fath closed in 1957.

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