This is a wonderful portrait that captures a young man, holding a glowing cigarette, mid-smoke.
The painting is likely to have been created by an artist in the Boston School group of painters, a school that was active in the first three decades of the twentieth century. They were often classified as the American Impressionists, but had their own regional style, combining the painterliness of Impressionism with a more conservative approach to figure painting and a marked respect for the traditions of Western art history.
Although they are now seen as traditionalists, painters of the Boston School were criticised by academics in the early days for their daring use of Impressionistic techniques. They soon achieved national renown, and continued to dominate the art scene in aesthetically conservative Boston through the 1930s and into the forties. They were admired for their dedication to craftsmanship and beauty at a time when modernists were challenging traditional artistic values.