William Merritt Chase (American, 1849–1916)
Oil on canvas
69 7/8 x 40 7/8 in. (177.5 x 103.8 cm)
Gift of Sir William Van Horne, 1906 (06.969)
Carmencita, the dancer known as "The Pearl of Seville," was born Carmen Dauset (or Dausset) in 1868 in Almería, Spain, and became famous in Spain and France during the 1880s. Having made her New York debut in 1889 at Niblo's Garden, Carmencita was besieged with requests for private performances. John Singer Sargent, who was then in New York and was painting a portrait of her, arranged for her to perform in Chase's Tenth Street studio on the evening of April 1, 1890. After this memorable recital, Chase painted this lively portrait of her, showing her in motion as she clicks her castanets in her hands. Chase suggests the audience's enthusiasm by including a gold bracelet and flowers that they tossed at her feet. Sargent's portrait of Carmencita (1890) is in the MusÉe d'Orsay, Paris.