Leopold Schmutzler was born at Mies in Bohemia but settled inMunich. His works of the late nineteenth-century, like theRussell-Cotes painting, treat contemporary and frock-coatgenre subjects with titles such as The Suitor, The Centre ofAttention or Woman Eavesdropping on a Conversation. Theytend to be painted in a realistic style recalling the gallantsubjects of eighteenth-century painting that were so fashionableat the time. The Minuet, like many of the artist’s works of thisperiod, is proficiently executed with a detailed but freehandling of the paint and it is characterised by a cloying,saccharine quality. In this scene several couples are representeddancing in a luxurious interior. Their smiles appear forced andthe figures in the painting, rather than conveying the dynamismof the dance, appear frozen, almost as if they were made ofporcelain. In the early twentieth century, Schmutzlerexchanged his detailed technique for a broader style in tunewith the fashion for Art Déco.