One of the earliest surviving portraits by the artist, this one testifies to his fondness for the women of the Gante family, his neighbours. All dressmakers, they lived in the same building as he did, on Rue de la Fosse.
Madame Gante had three daughters, Eugénie, Joséphine and Henriette, and it was Henriette who donated portraits of her mother (Inventory no. 911) and her sister Joséphine to the museum. In its striving for sincerity this painting remains a little naive. Josephine, posing in a plain interior vivified by a coloured tablecloth and a vase of flowers, looks somewhat weary.
The large, grey mass of her dress and the sombre uniformity of the backdrop contrast with the pink ribbon holding the model's hair in place. Delaunay made quite a few portraits like these when visiting his family in Nantes during the period 1848-53.