John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925)
Oil on canvas
84 x 44 3/4 in. (213.4 x 113.7 cm)
Bequest of Valerie B. Hadden, 1932 (32.154)
One of the artist's acquaintances in Paris was Valerie Burckhardt and her younger sister, Charlotte Louise (18621892), daughters of the Swiss merchant Edward Burckhardt and his American wife, the former Mary Elizabeth Tomes. Sargent painted several portraits of the Burckhardt family between 1878 and 1885, including this full-length portrait of Charlotte Louise that he dedicated to her mother and submitted to the Paris Salon in 1882 as "Portrait of Mlle ***." By his choice of pose and palette, Sargent probably had in mind portraits by Velázquez that he has seen in Madrid in 1879. Charlotte married an Englishman, Alfred Roger Ackerley, on September 24, 1889, in Paris. She became ill two years later, perhaps with tuberculosis, and died after a long illness. The portrait remained in the possession of her family until bequeathed to the Museum by her sister Valerie.