Jo, the Beautiful Irish Woman
Oil on canvas (1866)
"This canvas celebrates Gustave Courbet’s feeling for his subject Jo Hiffernan, whom he affectionately called “the beautiful Irish woman.” He painted the portrait shortly after meeting Hiffernan, the studio model and mistress of the American painter James McNeill Whistler, during the summer of 1865. As the composition was incredibly popular with Courbet’s middle-class patrons, he painted four almost identical versions around 1866, including this one. He kept one of the portraits until his death, making copies from it upon request."