The Milliner (c.1877) by Eva Gonzales

The Milliner - Eva Gonzales - c.1877

Artwork Information

TitleThe Milliner
ArtistEva Gonzales
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationArt Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, US

About The Milliner

“The Milliner,” painted by Eva Gonzales circa 1877, is a portrait rendered in gouache and pastel that espouses the principles of the Impressionism movement. This artwork is currently housed at the Art Institute of Chicago, located in Chicago, IL, US.

The artwork depicts a woman, thought to be a milliner or hat maker, situated in a studio environment. She is seated, with her body slightly turned towards the viewer, creating a sense of engagement. The milliner’s attire is a blue dress with details such as a bow at the neckline and ruffled cuffs that capture the light and shadow play typical of the impressionistic style. In her hands, she holds a box filled with what appears to be floral embellishments, possibly intended for adorning hats. One of her hands deftly picks through the contents of the box while the other is clasped around a vividly red flower, which provides a striking contrast against the softer tones of her dress.

The background is relatively nondescript, allowing the viewer to focus on the figure and her immediate surroundings. A hat decorated with flowers stands on what seems to be a piece of furniture, potentially a work table, faintly reflected by a mirror in the background. The reflection in the mirror introduces a subtle complexity to the scene, hinting at the depth of the space. The light brushstrokes and bright color palette are characteristic of Impressionism, aiming to reflect the fleeting effects of light and atmosphere. Gonzales’s masterful handling of pastels and gouache lends a gentle luminosity and texture to the woman’s face and enhances the overall vitality of this intimate portrayal.

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