information from the Smithsonian American Art Museum catalog
description: Kenyon Cox was known for his masterful execution of paintings and public murals. He meticulously planned every detail of a work and created several sketches and studies before its final execution. Study for Drapery of "Pursuit of the Ideal" illustrates one of the numerous steps in his artistic process. The white drapery covers the lower half of a barely sketched woman. The dramatic folds in the fabric help show the contours of the figure, for which Cox would have created separate studies. The final painting of Pursuit of the Ideal was part of United States' fine arts exhibit at the Paris Exposition in 1900.