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The daughter of a Polish sculptor, Misia Sert (1872-1950) was a well-known figure in Parisian artistic and intellectual circles. Renoir''s portrait shows her as an accomplished society hostess, at ease in a chaise longue. Her soft, low-cut chiffon blouse and bold-patterned skirt provide an interesting contrast with the contemporary dress in Klimt''s portrait of the same year (also in this display). A number of artists painted Sert; she was a confidante of Picasso and Jean Cocteau, an early patron of Sergei Diaghilev''s Ballets Russes and a close friend of the designer Coco Chanel.

August 2004