The LeDoux Family and Vlaho Bukovac

Painting of a woman in a pink dress in a sunny green garden holding a hat and some flowers

'Mrs LeDoux'

Richard LeDoux (1848/9-1914) was the Liverpool director of the firm Suter, Hartmann & Co., which made composition for ships’ keels. His interest in technological progress in steamships would have brought him into contact with Samson Fox. The families of the two men became friends, and they seem to have enjoyed a friendly rivalry competing for Bukovac’s pictures. A photograph of the music-room at ‘Marlfield’, LeDoux’s villa in West Derby, taken in 1903 shows Bukovac’s 'The Bathers', painted in Zagreb in 1899.

Bukovac enjoyed a particularly close friendship with LeDoux’s wife Laura, of whom he painted at least four separate portraits. The most important of them is full-length in the Walker Art Gallery’s collection (left) , which was exhibited in the Walker in 1892 and at the Paris Salon the following year. The work was painted on Bukovac’s honeymoon in Liverpool, when Mrs Ledoux presented the artist’s young Croatian wife with a fabulous diamond ring.

La Grande Iza

Painting of a naked reclining female figure and a female servant with a towel

In 1913 LeDoux succeeded in buying 'La Grande Iza' , Bukovac’s sensationally successful exhibit at the 1882 Paris Salon. Based on a popular French novel by Alexis Bouvier, the picture had made Bukovac’s name. Samson Fox had tried to buy it at the time, but although he was unsuccessful, his efforts had triggered the first awareness of the artist in England.