It was painted by Marie-Victoire Lemoine (1754-1820) who specialised in portraits and genre subjects and shows the sitter, who was later known as Pauline Borghese, at the age of 19.
The oil on canvas, which measures 6ft 5in x 4ft 6in (1.9 x 1.4m) and is signed M Vic Lemoine on the pilaster lower right, was exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1799 under the anonymous title Une jeune femme appuyée sur le bord d’une croisée (a young woman leaning on the edge of a window).
The portrait is thought to have been given by the sitter to her brother Joseph Bonaparte and to have come with him to New Jersey.
Later it belonged to Peter Gassner and passed down by descent to his great-granddaughter, Mrs Theodore Humphrey, and then to a private collection in Washington, DC.
The estimate in the Doyle sale is $40,000-70,000.