Paul Cesar Helleu, French, 1859-1927, "Fillette en Buste, Chapeau Coquille". This is a beautiful portrait of a young girl by French artist Paul Cesar Helleu. Etching with drypoint, image size 23 1/4 x 13 3/4 inches, c. 1900, pencil signed. Helleu began his art career when he enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and worked as an apprentice for Theodore Deck, decorating ceramic plates with women's portraits. He became friends with many artists of La Belle Epoch, including John Singer Sargent, Whistler, Tissot, Monet and Rodin, and became well known for his elegant portraits of women of French society. Helleu was a master of the drypoint, in which the image is scratched directly onto the metal plate, rather than bitten with acid. The immediacy of the dryoint technique enabled Helleu to portray his subjects with a delicate lifelike spontaneity, as in this beautifully rendered portrait of a young girl. There is a repaired tear in the image just below and to the right of the girl's arm, but overall this etching is still quite presentable.