Marie Bashkirtseff was born into a wealthy family in Russia in 1858, and spent her childhood travelling around Europe before settling in France. She studied painting at the Academie Julian (one of the few that accepted female students) and produced a considerable body of work before dying of tuberculosis at the tragically early age of 25.
Marie Bashkirtseff painted in the style of realism and naturalism, which means her paintings can look somewhat conventional to the modern eye. Figuring that her male colleagues had already cornered the market in painting rural idylls, she turned to urban scenes. Her great skill was in capturing the personality of her subjects, as seen in the paintings below.