Ah! How Wretched.

HELENA MODJESKA as MARGUERITE GAUTIER
from Camille by Alexander Dumas

Giclee collector’s print, 250 print edition

HELENA MODJESKA was a Polish immigrant who fled her country in 1876 and eventually settled in a Polish agricultural colony in the small pioneer town of Anaheim, California. The colony suffered financial failure during the drought and depression of 1877, and Ms. Modjeska was forced to learn English and return to the stage—first in the title role of Adrienne Lecouvreur, soon followed by appearances as Ophelia, Juliet and Camille. Over the next thirty years she became one of America’s most beloved actresses. Ms. Modjeska was featured (anonymously) as the fictional actress, Maryna Zalezowska, in the Susan Sontag novel, In America.

The challenge of painting a scene from Camille was in the creation of a Victorian room on a Victorian stage, a room that could theoretically be disassembled between acts, and yet have the feel of an overfilled Victorian era sitting room on a stage in late nineteenth-century California.

The scene is at the beginning of the play, when Marguerite, having been discomposed by a bout of coughing during a party at her apartment, says, “Ah! How wretched I look!”

The lighting was chosen to replicate the nature of stage lighting, which causes a spot lighted subject to leap into sharp focus while the rest of the set fades to murky darkness. The wooden floor implies the frontier aspect of the California theater, and the costume replicates existing apparel from the photography of Ms. Modjeska.


Image size is 14x20 inches, overall print size is 18x24 inches, edition of 250 prints. Print cost is $250 each plus $10 shipping and handling (and sales tax, if applicable). Special Canvas edition: 14x20 inches, edition of 25. Canvas print cost is $500 plus $10 S&H (plus tax).

Each archival paper print is reproduced from the original oil painting and printed on an archival pigment printer for uncommon color fidelity. The prints are personally signed and numbered by the artist and are accompanied by a signed and numbered registration/historical summary certificate. 

Our special canvas edition prints are signed and numbered by the artist in oil. Please note: canvas edition prints contain no text on the printed sheet. They are ready to frame and hang just as an oil painting. A white canvas border is provided around the print so that art may be secured on stretchers if desired

For multiple print orders, please email us to significantly reduce shipping costs. For orders outside Continental US, please call or email for shipping costs.

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THE ORIGINAL ARTWORK OF AH! HOW WRETCHED IS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE.

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