The White Hat

about 1780
Jean-Baptiste Greuze (French, 1725–1805)


Overall: 56.8 x 46.4cm (22 3/8 x 18 1/4in.) Framed: 69.9 x 59.7 x 6.4 cm (27 1/2 x 23 1/2 x 2 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oil on canvas

On View

Ann and William Elfers Gallery (Gallery 245)





Although Greuze was commissioned to paint many portraits, it’s unlikely that this painting depicts an actual person. The young woman, who appears at once innocent and seductive, is probably the product of the artist’s imagination. Greuze has dressed her in the more natural, déshabillé (“undressed”) fashion that was en vogue at the time. Queen Marie Antoinette began wearing white muslin dresses that did not require structural undergarments in the 1780s and after some initial scandal, this style became very popular.


Thomas Dowse (b. 1772 - d. 1856), Cambridge, MA; bequeathed by Dowse to the Boston Athenaeum; 1975, sold by the Boston Athenaeum to the MFA. (Accession Date: March 10, 1976)

Credit Line

Gift of Jessie H. Wilkinson—Jessie H. Wilkinson Fund, Grant Walker Fund, Seth K. Sweetser Fund, and Abbott Lawrence Fund