Portrait of Eva Smith Cochran
Grand Manner portraits of this style have enjoyed a long tradition, from the mid-17th century to today. The sitter was the daughter of Alexander Smith, the wealthy Yonkers carpet manufacturer. She and her family lived in Duncraggan, next door to the Untermeyer estate, and worked to save Philipse Manor Hall.
Chartran’s signature, at the upper left, has only recently been identified. This French artist travelled to the U.S. regularly to paint society portraits, including members of the Roosevelt family and Washington Roebling, chief engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge. Chartran’s virtuoso paint application—seen in the glint of light on Mrs. Cochran’s jewelry and the subtle shading her skin tones—is evident of an artist benefitting from excellent, if traditional, French academic training. The dark background, with its intimation of classical architecture, is typical of mid-19th century French portraiture.