The Letter. Etienne Adolphe Piot (French, 1850-1910). Oil on canvas.
Piot studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and became a pupil of Léon Cogniet from 1870, where he developed his preferred subject; portraits of fashionable ladies of Parisian society. A member of the salon from 1883, Piot uses dark backgrounds to highlight the faces of his models and their knowing expression. Here Piot uses a note, the contents of which are hidden from the viewer, to bring intrigue and narrative to the portrait.