Oil on canvas
16 1/8 x 13 inches (41 x 33 cm)
Signed: F. Miralles, and indistinctly dated upper right
Private Collection, Switzerland
Francisco Miralles Galup was raised in Barcelona and received his first artistic training from Ramon Marti Alsina. When he was fifteen, he traveled to Paris for the first time, and three years later he moved there, remaining for the next twenty-seven years. He worked in the studio of Arturo Canela, which was a meeting place for Catalan artists in Paris. Through his compatriot Edouardo Zamacois, Miralles met the prestigious art dealer Adolphe Goupil, who began to commission painting from the young artist. Goupil was also the agent for Boldini, Gérôme, and Bouguereau, whose careers he had helped establish. Miralles’ talent was quickly acknowledged and his paintings were avidly collected, many being sold before they were finished. He exhibited regularly at the Paris Salons from 1875 until 1896, in Barcelona’s Sala Pares, and in numerous international exhibitions in London, Berlin, Dieppe, Montpelier, and America.
In Woman with a Black Hat, Miralles has created a fashionable portrait of a woman in contemporary costume. She looks away from the viewer with eyes full of interest, as though she is engaged in conversation with an invisible third party. Her dress is elegant, yet informal, most likely appropriate for a daily outing or walk through the city. Her wavy, brown hair is tucked under a large black hat, with one side of its brim turned up to draw attention to her face. A bright white lace collar sits high on her long neck, drawing further attention to her fair skin. Tied below her collar is a gauzy, white bow, and an elegant fur surrounds her shoulders. The different textures of her dress are expertly handled with Miralles’ quick and fluid brushstroke, giving the painting a lively mood.