René Bouché

1905 – 1963

René Bouché, Summer Dress2021-12-10T20:19:22+00:00
René Bouché, New Look Fitted Suits Furs Added2021-12-10T20:25:22+00:00
René Bouche, Elizabeth Arden2021-12-10T20:26:55+00:00
René Bouché, Couple In Conversation2021-12-10T20:28:15+00:00


Bouché was a celebrated portraitist and a grand master of twentieth century fashion illustration. Born in Prague, Bouché moved to Berlin, Paris and finally New York at the onset of America joining World War II in 1941. Despite a lack of formal training, Bouché had an incomparable ability to capture everything he drew with charm, wit, style and elegance. Alongside his long association with both Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, Bouché was appointed chief advertising campaign illustrator for Saks Fifth Avenue and Elizabeth Arden and produced a series of advertising campaigns for well known clients such as Schweppes, Jaguar and Buick. In theatre, Bouché is best known for the set and costume designs for the Theatre Guild’s Child of Fortune (1954) and the American Ballet Theatre’s Offenbach in the Underworld (1956). As a master of social portraiture with a quick, intuitive yet penetrating style, Bouché was regularly invited to paint the portraits of the leading lights from the worlds of art, fashion, literature and politics including private commissions of Jacqueline Kennedy, Judy Garland and W H Auden. For Time Magazine he painted John F Kennedy, Teddy Kennedy, Sophia Loren and Jean Kerr and the CBS radio and television personalities Jack Benny, Edward R Murrow and Ed Sullivan. The Ed Murrow drawing can be seen today etched into a brass plaque in the entrance foyer of the CBS building in New York. From the early 1950s, Condé Nast commissioned Bouché to travel extensively to capture the social and fashion trends in Europe each season. For a time, Bouché became absorbed in abstract expressionism joining Motherwell, de Kooning and Pollock as a member of The Eight Street Avant-Garde Painters Club and was commissioned by the celebrated Tibor de Nargy Gallery, New York for an abstract work for the cover of An Elegy by poet Chester Kallman. However, Bouché returned to portraiture saying he “missed the human form”. His last major commission was in 1962 for a mural in the New York Hilton restaurant. Bouché’s work is held in public collections worldwide including The Whitney Museum and MoMA, New York. Exhibitions include MoMA (1974) and The Legion of Honour Museum, San Francisco (2012).