Woman at Her Toilette
Louis Anquetin ( French, 1861 - 1932 )
This painting of a woman combing her hair wascelebrated in its time for its bold new aesthetic. The style, called “Cloisonnism,” was invented by Anquetinand the artist Emile Bernard, whose artwork hangs nearby. Imitating medieval stained-glass windowsand Japanese woodcut prints, Cloisonnism features flatareas of solid color enclosed by dark outlines, such as the green contour that encircles the woman’s smooth white skin. The painting’s modernity also extends toits subject. Although images of women dressing aretraditional within European art, the figure’s direct gaze, pronounced makeup, and parted lips are not typical. In the 19th century, these details alluded tothe woman’s likely status as a courtesan, a sex worker who catered to upper-class patrons.