Alexander, who lived in Paris during the 1890s, achieved international success with his studies of female figures gracefully posed in elegant interiors. In this example, the provocative facial expression and supple curves reflect the contemporary French taste for sensual images of women as well as the undulating linear rhythms of Art Nouveau. With its model decoratively attired in a sweep of white fabric, "Repose" was lampooned in a French magazine as a portrayal of Loïe Fuller (1862–1928), the American dancer famous for manipulating swirling folds of silk in her performances at the Folies Bergère in Paris.
Signature: [at lower right]: J.W. Alexander 95--
the artist, until died 1915; his wife, Elizabeth A. Alexander, New York and Princeton, New Jersey, 1915–died 1947; her son, James W. Alexander, Princeton, New Jersey, 1947–died 1971; his daughter, Irina A. Reed, New York, 1971–1979