Helen Victoria Crocker, later Mrs. Henry Potter Russell, was the daughter of William H. Crocker, E. B. Crocker's nephew and founder of the Crocker Bank. She sat for this portrait in Europe where she and her sister Ethel Mary had been sent after the San Francisco earthquake, which destroyed the Crockers' mansions.
At the turn of the twentieth century Giovanni Boldini, along with John Singer Sargent and Anders Zorn, dominated society portraiture. Boldini studied in Florence at the Accademia di Belle Arti, where he met many of the Macchiaiuoli. Their loose brushwork and attention to color were influential for Boldini's own distinctive style.