Portrait of Mme ***, known as The Lady with an Umbrella

1874
Oil on canvas
H. 144,3 cm x W. 82,3 cm

Henner painted more than four hundred portraits. Besides that it generated income, painting portraits fitted in well with the fact that he liked focusing on the appearance of a model, often painting them against a bare background rather than in a familiar setting. Devoid of any idealism, The Lady with an Umbrella is a classic example. Mrs *** was in fact a lady by the name of Augustine Durand, but this painting was not a commission. In 1876, the journalist, Jules Clarétie, described the painting which had been exhibited at the 1874 Salon as: “a bourgeois sphinx reminiscent of another Mona Lisa, less haughty and more modest.”