Academic paintings of classically draped maidens in timeless landscapes enjoyed a considerable vogue in the late nineteenth century. In England John William Godward (see lot 45) and Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (see lot 49) explored this theme, as William Bouguereau (see lots 13 and 46) and his pupil Guillaume Seignac did in France. Bouguereau thought of Seignac like a son and may have guided his student toward a career which included works like Love’s Muse (Portrait of Mary Pickford). The present work’s balanced composition, classical lines and well-modeled forms, inspired by Antique and Renaissance examples, follows Bouguereau’s technique, while the palette of color is characteristically Seignac. The artist takes particular care in describing the wide smile and bright eyes of this Classical maiden, the hairstyle is unmistakably that of the “girl with the curls”, Mary Pickford (1892-1979), one of the first motion picture stars and co-founder of United Artists film studio (fig. 1). It is unclear when Pickford met Seignac, but beyond serving as the present work’s model, the actress owned at least one of his compositions, Happy Thoughts (sold in these rooms on April 18, 2008, lot 75). The actress hung the artist’s work at Pickfair, the immense Beverly Hills estate she shared with her husband, fellow Hollywood legend, Douglas Fairbanks after 1919. In addition to paintings, Pickford amassed a collection of eighteenth century English and French furniture and decorative objects. Her collecting was supported by her record breaking salaries (as much as $10,000 a week in 1916) earned over fifty starring roles throughout her career. Indeed, Pickford’s fame was so great that a film journalist remembered her as “the best known woman who has ever lived, the woman who has known to more people and loved by more people than any other woman that has been in all of history” (as quoted in Eileen Whitfeld, Pickford: the Woman Who Made Hollywood, Lexington, Kentucky, 1997, p. 131).