Carmencita

Artist: William Merritt Chase (American, Williamsburg, Indiana 1849–1916 New York)

Date: 1890

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 69 7/8 x 40 7/8 in. ( 177.5 x 103.8 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gift of Sir William Van Horne, 1906

Accession Number: 06.969

Description

Carmencita, the dancer known as the “Pearl of Seville,” was born in 1868 in Almería, on the southeastern coast of Spain, and became famous in her home country and in France during the 1880s. After she made her New York debut in 1889 at Niblo’s Garden, she was besieged with requests for private performances. John Singer Sargent arranged for her to perform in Chase’s studio on the evening of April 1, 1890. Afterward, Chase painted this lively portrait of the dancer, in which he suggested the audience’s enthusiasm by including the gold bracelet and flowers they had tossed at her feet. Sargent’s own portrait of Carmencita (also 1890) is in the Musée d’Orsay, Paris.

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