The only pupil Manet ever really trained is shown here in his studio, painting a still life of flowers. A white camellia lying on the carpet accentuates the
bluish tints of the white dress, which Eva Gonzales wears here without the customary covering of an artist's smock. She looks very feminine in this picture - more like
an amateur artist in comparison to BertheMorisot. This impression is strengthened when one looks at her Box at the Theatre des Italiens, a good painting, to be sure, and
then at the Young Girl at the Ball by Morisot, which is far superior. (The Morisot painting, which hangs adjacent to the Gonzales in the Louvre, was purchased by the
French Government in 1894, at the instigation of Mallarme.)
To return to Manet's picture, we see the pupil, with her great, dark eyes, posed at her easel against a duck-green background. Eva Gonzales was the daughter of the novelist Emmanuel Gonzales, who wrote for Le Siecle and had been the President of the French Society of Authors since 1863. She studied under Chaplin before becoming Manet's pupil and starting work in his studio in 1869. Manet began her portrait almost immediately. She had been introduced to him by the Belgian painter Alfred Stevens. She was twenty years old. Although begun early in 1869, the painting did not satisfy Manet for some time, and he did not finish it, according to Tabarant, until March 12, 1870.