Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta (Spanish, Rome 1841–1920 Versailles)
Oil on canvas
40 x 25 1/2 in. (101.6 x 64.8 cm)
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Not on view
Madrazo was famous during his lifetime and painted portraits for wealthy French, American, British, and Argentine patrons. He was also known for his skillful and often flirtatious genre scenes, such as this painting in the Lehman Collection. In this scene, a couple dressed in extravagant costumes share drinks in a quiet conservatory after a ball. The male leans across the table, gazing at the coquettish blonde female whose face is hidden behind a black mask. She drapes her fingers across her chest, one of many gestures and details in the painting that Madrazo uses to evoke a playfully suggestive subject. The artist further entices the viewer with his beautiful painterly effects seen in the way that he conveys extraordinary material—satin, fur, porcelain, glass, feather, and velvet, all bathed in light.
William Henry Vanderbilt bought this painting in 1878, the same year that Madrazo won the first-class medal at the Exposition Universelle in Paris and was elected to the French Academy. This painting probably showed at the exposition in this year.
Inscription: Signed (lower right): R. Madrazo
French Gallery (Henry Wallis, proprietor), London; acquired from the French Gallery (Wallis & Co.), London, by William Henry Vanderbilt, New York, 1878; purchased at the William Henry Vanderbilt sale, Park-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, by Robert Lehman, New York, April 18, 1945.