Thomas Wilmer Dewing’s paintings often possess an aura of mystery. It is as if the artist defies us to imagine who the women are and why they seem so otherworldly. The thick, almost hothouse atmosphere in which this woman sits seems suffocating, and her half-closed eyes suggest that she is in a trancelike state. These qualities have led some feminist interpreters to conclude that Dewing portrayed women as beautiful symbols of an aesthetically oriented inner life that was separate from the world of commerce and social interaction.
(Text by the Brooklyn Museum, CC BY 3.0).