Son of the successful furniture designer and decorator Christian Herter, Albert Herter began his career as an illustrator and painter. This portrait depicts his childhood companion Elizabeth Newton.
Besides being an affecting portrait of a reflective young woman, the painting is Herter’s homage to expatriate artist James McNeill Whistler. He embraces the Whistlerian challenge of painting a life-sized pictured in a carefully contrived arrangement of whites. The curtain’s decorative pattern also reveals Herter’s interest in textiles and Japanese design.