Oil on canvas; signed 'Gerald Kelly Fec'
27.25 x 22.5 inches
This informal sketch, on a continental stretcher, is an early work probably painted in Paris when Kelly was studying there in the early 1900s. In 1903/4 he exhibited a number of paintings of women at the Salon, with titles such as Petit Portrait, La Rose, Celeste, Velours Noir, and Brownie. The young artist’s style was emerging from the gloomy (in Kelly’s case) influence of Whistler and he was painting more freely at last. As to the sitter, it is possible that it is Kelly’s dancer girlfriend in Paris, whose name we do not know, but whose spurning of Kelly led him to leave Paris for Burma in 1908 with £50 lent to him by his friend the novelist Somerset Maugham.