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Jean-François Raffaëlli
La demoiselle d’honneur
oil on canvas
Canvas: 99 × 45 3/8 inches (251.5 × 115.3 cm)Framed: 100 5/8 × 45 3/8 × 1 3/4 inches (255.6 × 115.3 × 4.4 cm)
Credit Line
Museum purchase.
Accession Number
An artist of enormous range, sensitivity, and talent, Jean-François Raffaëlli is best known for images of the disenfranchised poor who inhabited the sprawling Parisian suburbs in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. In the early 1890s Raffaëlli began producing numerous cityscapes featuring Parisian monuments and boulevards, and began to focus on middle-class subjects. La demoiselle d’honneur embodies the lighthearted elegance characteristic of his late works. The painting drew enthusiastic reviews when it was exhibited in the Paris Salon of 1901; one critic later raved that it was “a new symphony in white, marvelous for its grace and charm.” This comparison to the famous tonalist painting Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl by James McNeill Whistler (1862; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.) calls attention to Raffaëlli’s limited color scheme, which gleams in shades of white punctuated by dramatic areas of black and red.