Leopold Schmutzler [1864-1941] was born at Mies in Bohemia but settled in Munich. His works of the late nineteenth-century, like the Russell-Cotes painting, treat contemporary and 'frock-coat' genre subjects with titles such as The Suitor, The Centre of Attention or Woman Eavesdropping on a Conversation.
They tend to be painted in a realistic style recalling the 'gallant' subjects of eighteenth-century painting that were so fashionable at the time. The Minuet, like many of the artist’s works of this period, is proficiently executed with a detailed but free handling of the paint and it is characterised by a cloying, saccharine quality. In this scene several couples are represented dancing in a luxurious interior. Their smiles appear forced and the figures in the painting, rather than conveying the dynamism of the dance, appear frozen, almost as if they were made of porcelain. In the early twentieth century, Schmutzler exchanged his detailed technique for a broader style in tune with the fashion for Art Déco.