Who was Bergere Oscar Perrault?
I was fortunate in being able to buy some delightful sketches of women in 1920s fashions signed by an artist called Bergere Oscar Perrault. But who was he and what were these drawings created for?
Oscar Perrault (as he was called) was allegedly born 29th April 1893 in Nashua, New Hampshire, USA (although there are some indications that this might be 1891) and made two trips to Paris in the early 1920s when he was aged 30 : first in mid 1923 (arrived New York from Le Havre 20/10/23 aboard the Paris) and a second trip shortly afterward later in 1923 (arrived New York from Le Havre 13/1/24 aboard the Paris). In both instances his home address was listed as 38 Blossom Street, Nashua.
What was he doing in Paris? Was it business or pleasure or a mix of both? After these trips – in the late 20s and 30s – he appears to have taught at the New School of Design in New York with the famous American painter Norman Rockwell. He also lived for sometime in the Springfield Massachusetts area.
When he died on 2nd February 1949 of a chronic illness at a New York hospital he was described as a World War 1 veteran but there was sadly no description of his occupation. He was survived by one brother Valmore Perrault of Boston, two step-brothers Eugene Perrault and Dr Gerard Perrault and a step sister Mrs Geramine Barone of Belmont, Massachusetts.
His drawings are well crafted, detailed and colourful and perfectly epitomise the glamorous 1920s. But somehow they do not fit the bill as costume designs. And, certainly there are no listings anywhere for an Oscar Perrault as costume designer for stage or screen. They do however appear to be more like illustrations that were perhaps done for pleasure or for a commercial enterprise.
All images and text © copyright Gary Chapman / Jazz Age Club and must not be re-used without prior consent
Listings on the internet
Ellis Island website
The NY Telegraph