The Irish-American painter, Anne Estelle Rice (1877-1959) was born in Pennsylvania. Despite parental disapproval she completed an art college degree in 1897 and went on to work as an illustrator for several mainstream publications, including Harper's Bazaar. In 1905 Rice was posted to Paris by Rodman Wannamaker, the owner of a large department store, to illustrate the latest fashions for his trade magazine. She was joined by her friend Elizabeth Dryden who was employed to write the accompanying reviews.
Fergusson first met Rice at Paris-Plage in 1907 (see lot 98) and was immediately drawn to her vivacious personality. The encounter probably influenced his decision to leave Edinburgh and settle in Paris, where the two artists were closely involved over the next six years. At times they worked together on the same Philadelphia trade magazine and later on the journal, Rhythm. Fergusson made numerous sketches and paintings of Rice in this period, often showing her in a striking hat and employing a vibrant palette and bold brushwork.