Born in 1862 in the Chicago suburb of what is now Hillsdale, Illinois, Marie Louise Fuller began her theatrical career as a professional child actress and later choreographed and performed dances in burlesque, vaudeville and circus shows. As an early advocate of free dance, Fuller developed her own natural movement and improvisation techniques which she combined with silk costumes illuminated by multi-colored lighting of her own design.
In 1892, Fuller moved to France and became an overnight sensation. She remained in Paris for the rest of her life. Her pioneering work in the field of dance attracted the attention, respect and friendship of many French artists and scientists, among them Jules Chéret, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Auguste Rodin, Stephane Mallarme and Marie Curie.
She was responsible for the European tours of the early modern dancers, and it was she who introduced Isadora Duncan to Parisian audiences. Her 'Chinese Dancers' was the subject of the second section of W. B. Yeats' Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen.
The painting is presented in the original frame designed by the sculptor Jean Alexandre Joseph Falguière.
(fig. 1) Jules Chéret, Loie Fuller, lithograph in colors, 1893.