This fall, Artwork of the Week celebrates the Museum’s “Season of Portraiture.”
Born Justine Pilloy, Alice Ozy (1820–1893) became a well-known Music Hall actress in Paris. She also became a famous, wealthy courtesan, counting among her ardent admirers such French luminaries as artist Gustave Doré, writer Victor Hugo, and Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, nephew of Napoleon and future Emperor of the French. In this intimate scene, Thomas Couture presents Ozy as a modern-day Venus seated at her dressing table combing her long hair. Couture was an important teacher to a number of forward-looking artists in the mid-1800s, most notably Édouard Manet.