Black chalk (or crayon) on paper (mounted on pulpboard)
20 1/16 x 13 3/16 in. (50.95875 x 33.49625 cm.)
John S. Phillips Fund
"Seated Woman with Palette" is an unusually large, delicately finished venture in this medium for Abbey, indicating special circumstances for the artist or sitter. Unrelated to known oils or illustrations, and technically unlike most of his work for reproduction, this drawing seems to have been independently conceived. The woman's palette and brushes, and her vague draperies; evoking period dress anywhere from the middle ages through the Aesthetic Movement, suggest the portrait of an artist in Abbey's large circle of friends. The idealized features, gracefully contrived pose, and attention to historical detail in the Renaissance chair, all qualities typical of Abbey's work, alternatively suggest a studio composition, drawn from a professional model. The influence of English Pre-Raphaelitism, powerful in Abbey's youth, still lingers in this drawing, which recalls the mood and style of his friend and neighbor in England, Edward Burne-Jones.