This alluring portrait of a young woman in a white dress seated on a hill, presumably under a tree, demonstrates the general principles of American Impressionism around the turn of the century. The painting captures the fleeting impression of sharp contrast of light and the deep, rich colors of a summer day, with bold, visible brushstrokes in a lightened color palette. One gets the sense that the painting captures a contemplative moment of rest painted outdoors.
The painting is dedicated to Hawthorne’s teacher and professional role model, William Merritt Chase. It bears the inscription: “To My Master Wm. M. Chase.” Hawthorne enrolled in Chase’s summer school at Shinnecock Hills, Long Island in 1896. There, the artist served as chief assistant to his master. Several years later, Hawthorne established his own summer school, the Cape Cod School of Art, which attracted plein air painters to Provincetown for the next three decades.