Oil painting on canvas
The portrait, with a lively and casual air, is characterized by a shot that captures the elegant young woman (perhaps identifiable with an actress of the Comedie Française, Marie Jeanne Bellon, known as Miss Bell) from top to bottom: the composition is rebalanced by the spiral movement of the rustling clothes, which, together with the quick and synthetic "strokes" of the brush, gives airiness and momentum to the whole. The contrast between the black color of the bow and the hair, the luminous whiteness of the décolleté, the iridescent red of the dress contributes to giving the painting, still today, a very strong emotional impact, so much so as to make it, spontaneously, the symbolic image of the Collections Frugone. The work, signed and dated 1903, was bought by Luigi Frugone in 1926, by the merchant Ferruccio Stefani. In one letter, the collector does not hide his enthusiasm for the possession of the painting, for which he uses the adjective "unsurpassable". The painting was actually intended for the Marquise Matilde Giustiniani Pallavicini Durazzo of Genoa, who wanted to start a collection of modern art. But Stefani did not give up proposing it to Luigi, due to the friendly and privileged relationship she had established with the industrialist, and sold it to him for 130,000 lire. In 1932, at the XVIII Venice Biennale, on the occasion of the retrospective dedicated to Giovanni Boldini, Miss Bell was exhibited with the explicit indication of Luigi's ownership.