Portrait of Helena de Kay (c.1872). Winslow Homer (American, 1836-1910). Oil on panel. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid.
Helena de Kay belonged to the circle of artists and intellectuals that occupied the Tenth Street studios in New York. Homer’s close friendship with De Kay is expressed in this dark toned composition in which she is shown in profile with her head lowered and holding a book. Behind the sitter a rose has fallen on the ground with two of its petals scattered, contributing to the melancholy mood of the painting.