Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

This work exemplifies both portrait conventions and fashions of 1790s France. It displays the characteristics of Jacques-Louis David’s famous portraits of the decade: the sitter’s head is turned to confront the viewer, and the subject is presented in relief against an empty background. Her white muslin dress, a model inspired by antiquity, was ubiquitous in women’s wardrobes of the period, as was the type of scarf in her lap. Her knotted kerchief, known as a fichu à la Marat, was named after the revolutionary journalist Jean-Paul Marat, whose martyrdom David commemorated in a famous painting (1793). Strips of canvas were added to all four sides of this portrait, which suggests that it could have been cut out of a larger composition.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Circle of Jacques-Louis David, French (Paris 1748 - 1825 Brussels)
Portrait of a Young Woman
Other Titles
Original Language Title: Jeune Fille
Alternate Title: Portrait of a Girl in a White Dress Holding a Yellow Scarf / Girl in a White Dress / Portrait of a Young Girl
Work Type
c. 1800
Persistent Link
Level 2, Room 2220, European and American Art, 17th–19th century, Rococo and Neoclassicism in the Eighteenth Century
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Physical Descriptions
Oil on canvas
75.6 x 57.5 cm (29 3/4 x 22 5/8 in.)
framed: 92.4 x 74.9 x 7.6 cm (36 3/8 x 29 1/2 x 3 in.)
[E. F. Bonaventure Art Galleries, New York], sold; to Grenville L. Winthrop, New York, NY, April 3, 1903, bequest; to Fogg Art Museum, 1943.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Publication History

"List of Loans, April 20 to May 20, 1911", Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (June 1911), 6, pp. 142-143, p. 143

[Reproduction only], "French Painting", Bulletin of the Fogg Art Museum, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, November 1943)., repr. in b/w p. 58

"Winthrop Collection Goes to Fogg", Art Digest (November 1, 1943), p. 8, repr.

Chinese Sculpture, Bronzes, Jades, Paintings and Drawings, Egyptian and Persian sculpture, Pre-Columbian art; selected from the collection of Grenville Lindall Winthrop, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1943), p. 3

"Sixteen Reproductions", Harvard Alumni Bulletin (Cambridge, MA, January 8, 1944), vol. XLVI, pp. 217-20, repr. in color

[Reproduction only], Art News, (January 1, 1944 - January 14, 1944)., repr., p. 8

Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 104; repr. as no. 260

Stephan Wolohojian, ed., A Private Passion: 19th-Century Paintings and Drawings from the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection, Harvard University, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Yale University Press (U.S.) (New York, 2003), no. 23, pp. 94-95, repr. in color

Stephan Wolohojian, Ingres, Burne-Jones, Whistler, Renoir... La Collection Grenville L. Winthrop, exh. cat., Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon and Réunion des Musées Nationaux (Paris, France, 2003), no. 23, pp. 102-103, repr. in color

Yuriko Jackall and Philippe Bordes, America Collects Eighteenth-Century French Painting, exh. cat., National Gallery of Art/Lund Humphries Publishers (Washington, DC, 2017), p. 104

Exhibition History

Unidentified Exhibition, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1911, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 04/29/1911 - 03/06/1912

Chinese sculpture, bronzes, jades, paintings and drawings, Egyptian and Persian sculpture, Pre-Columbian art : selected from the collection of Grenville Lindall Winthrop, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 10/01/1943 - 02/28/1944

France and the Portrait, 1799-1870, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 12/03/1994 - 01/29/2002

A Private Passion: 19th-Century Paintings and Drawings from the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection, Harvard University, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 10/23/2003 - 01/25/2004

For Students of Art and Lovers of Beauty: Highlights from the Collection of Grenville L. Winthrop, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/16/2004

32Q: 2220 18th-19th Century, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

Google Art Project

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