Although French by birth, Mitoire became a Russian citizen in 1806. In 1813, he became a member of the Imperial Academy of Art in St Petersburg, specializing in portraits and genre scenes. There are speculations that Mitoire planned to leave Russia in 1818 and sold all his painting at auction. However, portraits in the State Hermitage and Pavlovsk Museum, Saint Petersburg, circa 1825, imply that the artist remained in Russia until then, or at most left for a short break in 1818 (see The State Russian Museum, Painting, Catalogue, St. Petersburg, 1998, p. 76).
The half-length Portrait of Countess Yulia Samoilova held in the State Hermitage, circa 1825, shows the sitter in a similar posture and costume as the present lot. Both sitters wear a long, high-waisted dress with puffed sleeves and lace around their shoulders, short strings of pearls around their necks, with their hair loosely tied. The richly embroidered shawl worn here suggests Russian origins for the present sitter.
The State Hermitage holds four half-length portraits by Mitoire. Other portraits by Mitoire are in the State Museum of Fine Art, Moscow, and the Rumyanstev Museum, Moscow. The present lot is a striking full-length, early example of his oeuvre.