Breitner was the most important chronicler of Amsterdam street life in the late nineteenth century. He portrayed the dynamic, rapidly growing city in paintings, drawings and photographs. In the early 1890s, after a period of illness, he produced a series of relatively subdued paintings, revealing a different side to his personality. They are depictions of girls and young women in Japanese kimonos. Most are shown seated or reclining on a sofa. Here, however, the woman—a slender, elongated, elegant figure—stands before a mirror and adjusts her earring. On the left is an Oriental screen. The series was inspired by the Japanese prints that were in vogue at the time—Breitner himself had a number of them in his collection. The woman who modelled for this painting, Geesje Kwak, can also be seen in other works by Breitner. The museum has nine paintings and twenty–two drawings from his hand. Among them is a black chalk sketch that he made as a study for this painting. Though it is now known as The Earring, Breitner himself called it At the Mirror.