La Dame au gant
The Lady with the Glove, a life-sized full-length portrait of the artist's young wife, was a great success at the 1869 Salon, where it won a medal. Regarded by the critics as the archetypal formal portrait, the work shows a sober composition, masterful drawing and delicate use of colour which recall David and Ingres. Standing out from a near-empty background painted in shades of grey and black, and the dark, changing colours of the gown, three interrelated elements catch the eye: the young woman's face and fashionable hairstyle, her hands, one drawing off a pearly grey glove, and the glove on the ground underlined by the painter's signature, in red. This anecdotal detail gives the work a modern instantaneous look which helps us understand why Emile Zola saw in Carolus-Duran a disciple of Manet.