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Giovanni Boldini, in Paris from 1871, quickly became one of the most renowned society portrait painters of the Belle époque. His works, unbiased and audaciously produced but with very elegant poses and details of fashion interiors, won the acclaim of a circle of international amateurs, including many of the most beautiful women at that time, form the ballerina Cléo de Mérode to Marquise casati. In 1897 Boldini made a trip to new York  and his painting, now also celebrated overseas, began to show many signs of contact with that of the American artist Sargent. His style became even more innovative, as shown in this big portrait of an American lady realized shortly after his first journey to the US. The pastel technique helped him to represent the woman's movements very rapidly, with a kinetic effect that seems to anticipate what was to be done, though on different and entirely new bases, by the Futurists, while the woman's face has not lost the usual sophisticated elegance of Boldini's portraits.
The space around the woman, however, another mark  of the modernity of the upcoming century, is no longer described analytically with a wealth of objects and furnishings, but is a big open, neutral screen, where the three dimensions and the sofa on which the subjects sits are merely sketched in.