Lady With a Bowl of Violets ca. 1910

A young woman sits on a chair near the hearth. Her hair is in a loose bun with vibrant orange highlights, and she wears white lace-trim gown.

Lilla Cabot Perry, Lady with a Bowl of Violets, ca. 1910; Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay

In Lady with a Bowl of Violets, Lilla Cabot Perry demonstrated her love of light-infused Impressionist colors and bravura brushwork.

Painted after the Perry family returned from Tokyo, this composition features a Japanese woodblock print and simple floral arrangement behind the sitter’s head. The artist dramatically cropped both the print and flowers in a manner reminiscent of traditional Japanese art. Such art also inspired the curious and daring compositional emptiness of the left side of the picture.

Perry used the loose, painterly brushstrokes favored by Impressionists. With just a few broad strokes of paint, she conveyed the texture of the young woman’s skin and the heavy white lace trim on her gown. Vibrant orange highlights derive from the reflected light of the hearth.

National Museum of Women in the Arts