Japanese textiles, kimonos, swords, inros (small boxes that hung from the sash of kimonos), and ceramics were de rigueur in artistic American interiors of the 1890s, in keeping with Americans’ growing interest in Japanese art and aesthetics. With an abundance of Asian textiles and foreign costumes in his studio, William Merritt Chase was poised to respond to the growing popularity of Japanese costume subjects among his American and foreign peers. By the late 1880s, he began to portray selected models, often female members of his family, robed in beautifully patterned kimonos. Girl in a Japanese Costume is an example of such a work and, like the majority of his “kimono paintings,” depicts a young woman in a studio setting gazing directly at the artist, suggesting the closeness of this artist-model relationship.
(Text by the Brooklyn Museum, CC BY 3.0).