Antonio Mancini

Portrait of the Artist’s Father

c.1903–4

Artist
Antonio Mancini 1852–1930
Original title
Ritratto del padre
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 997 x 597 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by L.A. Harrison 1922
Reference
N03687

Not on display

Display caption

The Italian portrait painter Mancini was a fellow pupil with Sargent in Paris under the academic portraitist Carolus-Duran. Sargent and Mancini remained friends, and Sargent did his best to encourage his popularity in London. Mancini lived in London at the beginning of the century, and sold portraits to a number of Sargent's patrons. This portrait of his father was included in a huge exhibition of modern Italian painting held at Earl's Court in 1904. It was shown again in the New English Art Club the following year. Sargent himself owned another version of it. Mancini's technique developed in an extraordinary way, and in later pictures he incorporated a network of gauze into the material of his paint.

Gallery label, September 2004

Catalogue entry

Antonio Mancini 1852-1930

N03687 Portrait c.1903-4

Inscribed 'A. Mancini | Roma' t.r.
Oil on canvas, 39 1/4 x 23 1/2 (100 x 59.5)
Presented by L.A. Harrison 1922
Prov: L.A. Harrison, London (probably purchased from the artist either at the Earl's Court exhibition or through the New English Art Club)
Exh: Italian Exhibition, Earl's Court, London, May-October 1904 (no catalogue traced); New English Art Club, London, October-November 1905 (25) as 'Portrait'

A portrait of the artist's father Paolo Mancini, a tailor from Narni in Umbria. It was probably painted about the same time as another portrait of him entitled 'En Voyage', showing him seated in a railway carriage, which now belongs to the National Gallery and which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in the summer of 1904. That it was the work shown at the New English Art Club in 1905 is confirmed by the review in The Illustrated London News, 21 October 1905, p.584: 'The picture has its amusing contrast; the "Portrait" is of an elderly Italian, who drinks a cup of tea with infinite composure and good humour, his expression being essentially modern; behind him is an antique bronze, a head sphinx-like, troubled and severe, emphatically of the past'. According to the Daily Mail, 14 October 1905, p.3, this portrait had been 'the chief feature of the Italian Exhibition at Earl's Court'. Although there seems to have been no comprehensive catalogue for the Italian Exhibition, which took place in May-October 1904, a note in The Illustrated London News, 25 June 1904, p.972, confirms that the fine art section included representative works by Mancini and Segantini.

L.A. Harrison, who presented this picture to the Tate, was himself a portrait painter, a friend of Sargent and a member of the New English Art Club.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.472-3, reproduced p.472

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