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At the Evening Party: Woman in White with a Fan, 1883-1884

Jean-Louis Forain

French, 1852-1931
Pastel on paper
21-3/4 x 18 in. (55.2 x 45.7cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation, from the Estate of Jennifer Jones Simon
M.2010.1.196.P
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

Not on view

Forain here gives us a glimpse of the cloakroom at the entrance to a fashionable Parisian ball. At left, a lady with her back turned has just handed over her cloak to a maid or attendant; at right, a gentleman in evening dress lingers in the doorway to the bright room beyond. The protagonist of the picture, however, is the young woman in white, who buttons her glove before entering the party. Swiftly applied pastel conveys the textures of her feathered fan, her tulle skirt, her powdered skin. Forain likely took up this medium at the urging of Degas, who also encouraged him to exhibit with the Impressionist group.

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