Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Becoming Established.

Over the years Sargent was commissioned to produced a series of a dozen Wertheimer portraits, now in the Tate Gallery, they reveal the artist's power to express the different character and social position of his sitters.
Sargent had a  long friendship and association with the astute art-dealer Asher Wertheimer, who stoutly affirmed his belief in the genius of Sargent.
The first two portraits were of Wertheimer and then his wife.

Asher Wertheimer 1898

Mrs. Asher B. Wertheimer 1898
The two men became friends and sargent dined weekly with the family at their home.  As you will see the paintings reveal a pleasant familiarity between the artist and his subjects.

Ena and Betty, Daughters of Asher and Mrs Wertheimer  1901
Sargent was much attracted by the charm of the Wertheimer family, especially the  eldest daughters, Helena (Ena) and Elizabeth (Betty). The vivacity of Ena (right), is clearly revealed in this portrait. The sisters’ dresses are skilfully conjured, the rich depth of Betty’s red velvet contrasting with the shine of Ena’s white damask silk.

Ena Wertheimer: A Vele Gonfie  1905
This portrait of Ena is unusually lively, and shows her wearing, as a joke, the Court dress of Lord Londonderry, which had been left in Sargent’s studio by another of his sitters. The portrait’s sub-title refers to her billowing cloak.

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