Jul 23, 2010

Woman at the Spinet

Woman at the Spinet


François Bonvin

(French, 1817–1887)

Fabricated black chalk with touches of brown and red chalk and stumping

Support: Tan laid paper

Sheet: 42 x 30.5 cm (16 9/16 x 12 in.)

Bequest of Muriel Butkin 2010.166



The subject of the woman at the piano was a recurrent theme in Bonvin’s oeuvre. The pianist depicted here was likely Céline Prunaire, a 21-year-old musician who married the much older artist in 1860. Although the meticulously rendered composition celebrates the grace and propriety of the young woman, the happiness of the couple’s union was fleeting. Prunaire left the artist after fewer than three years, never to return. The pink carnation at her feet suggests a note of foreboding to the image, perhaps intended to allude to the ephemeral nature of music and sentimental bonds.

See also

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email [email protected].

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.