Georges Matchabelli (1885-1935) Portrait Oil Painting
This fine portrait in oil of the legendary perfumer, Georges V. Matchabelli (1885-1935), apparently unsigned, is mounted in a beautiful gilded and hand-painted cassetta style frame with familiar Matchabelli fragrance brand crown at top and painted nameplate at base, from the House of Heydenryk. Provenance: PDC Brands, Stamford, CT, formerly Parfums de Coeur. Stretcher meausres 33.75 x 40 in; 86 x 102 cm, and frame measures 42.75 x 54 in; 109 x 137 cm. Canvas has been relined. Painting is apparently unsigned and cannot be attributed at this time. The crown at top mirrors the crown of the Prince Matchabelli perfume brand as designed in 1926. Frame is in good condition. There was a break to the cross on the crown at top of frame that has been partially restored, leaving the cross twisted at an angle.
Matchabelli was a Georgian prince and ambassador to Italy, and emigrated to the U.S. following the Russina revolution. In New York City he and his wife, Princess Norina Matchabelli, the actress also known as Maria Carmi, opened a small antiques shop, Le Rouge et le Noir, at 545 Madison Avenue . The name came from Stendhal's novel of that name, which they interpreted as the red for the aristocracy for him and black for the religious. Matchabelli was also a chemist, and established the Prince Matchabelli Perfume Company in 1926. The first three perfumes were created for Princess Norina, Queen of Georgia and Ave Maria. The company became known for the many color-coded, crown-shaped bottles designed by Norina after the Matchabelli crown and introduced in 1928 with labels on the underside.
In 1936 Princess Matchabelli sold the company to perfume manufacturer Saul Ganz. In 1941 Prince Matchabelli was sold to Vicks Chemical Company. In 1958, Vicks sold Prince Matchabelli to Chesebrough–Pond's, which was acquired by Unilever in 1987. In 1993 Unilever sold the brand to Parfums de Coeur, subsequently acquired by PDC Brands.