Francisco Masriera y Manovens was born in Barcelona in 1842. The son of the artist José Masriera, he was encouraged by his father to paint and as a young man he studied in Geneva, Paris and Rome. While in Rome, he began to paint the Orientalist subjects that were to make his reputation. These subjects of Moorish harem figures earned him international regard for their perfection of draftsmanship and their luminous and strong palette. In 1878 he was awarded a second class medal at the National Exhibition in Madrid for his painting The Slave and, in 1889, the same year A Harem Beauty was painted, Masriera won a third class medal at the Exposition Universelle, Paris.