Known by various names, Femme à la voilette [Lady with the Veil / Veiled Lady] is one of the cornerstones of Medardo Rosso’s career. Dated to 1895, there are seven signed versions, all in wax apart from the original plaster model. The almost exclusive use of wax already seems significant in that its malleability lends itself better than any other material to the way the artist carefully renders with a luminous quality a fleeting impression captured in passing in the street. Indeed, the work was often titled Impression de boulevard in early exhibitions and publications, and is further characterized by the slightly inclined pose of the bust, which the artist used to give the sense of a sudden glimpse of a passer-by.
Scholars unanimously recognized the importance of Femme à la voilette in Medardo Rosso’s oeuvre, by virtue not only of its success among critics and collectors, but by the frequency with which the artist included it in key exhibitions and situated it at the centre of his own thoughts about art.