|Asta Nørregaard "Portrait of Elisabeth Fearnley in the Studio of the Artist" 1892|
Asta Nørregaard (1853 - 1933) was a Norwegian painter who is best known for her portraits of the wealthy and celebrated, rather like her American contemporary John Singer Sargent. I don't know the story behind this piece, which seems more personal. Elisabeth Young Fearnley was the wife of shipping magnate Thomas Fearnley and sat to Nørregaard for a more conventional portrait as well, which can be seen here.
By all accounts Asta Nørregaard was a zealous and ambitious artist. She won numerous prizes and studied abroad mainly with the painter Eilif Peterssen but also with Léon Bonnat. Thanks to a generous scholarship she lived and worked in Paris for several years, eventually returning to Norway to settle in Oslo in 1885, with later trips abroad for study and commissions. She received the King's Medal of Merit in gold in 1920.