This portrait of Marguerite on the Sabbath is inspired by an episode of the legend of Faust. Marguerite, in despair at having been seduced by Faust, killed the child born of this union and is about to put an end to her days. But she is thrown into prison. Faust, who has abandoned the young woman to turn to other pleasures, attends a Sabbath with Mephistopheles. Suddenly, emerging from the fires of hell, he had an apparition: Marguerite, pale as a specter, stands up, her child dead in her arms. This vision will lead him to repentance.
Dagnan-Bouveret fixed this moment while remaining very close to the text of Goethe.
The model that poses for this painting is Suzanne Delvé, actress in vogue in the interwar period. (Translation from French at http://www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/pascal-dagnan-bouveret-1852-1929-36-c-369423fba3)