John Singer Sargent
T03927 A Nude Boy on a Beach
Oil on panel 268 x 351 (10 1/2 x 13 13/16)
Bequeathed by John Tillotson and acquired 1984
Prov: The artist's executors, sold Christie's 27 July 1925 (185: sale stencil and lot number still on back of panel) £315 bt Leopold Sutro, London, sold Sotheby's 10 Nov. 1943 (100) £17 bt John Tillotson, London
After the success of his 'Oyster Gatherers of Cancale' at the 1878 Paris Salon, Sargent went to Naples and Capri for part of the summer. Two of the oil sketches he made there, this one and another in the collection of the Ormond family, were later used in a very direct fashion for the painting 'Boys on a Beach, Naples', also known as 'Innocence Abroad', dated 1879 and exhibited at the National Academy of Design, New York that year as 'Neapolitan Children Bathing' (267 x 413, 10 1/2 x 16 1/4); Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Mass.; Richard Ormond, John Singer Sargent, 1970, pp.22, 235, pl.5). The boy in the Tate sketch appears at the bottom of the picture, his legs cut by the right edge of the canvas. The Ormond family sketch, which is more or less the same size as T03927, features the two younger, standing boys who appear in the Williamstown painting.
Another sketch of the same size, 'Beach at Capri', showing two seated boys with two beached boats at the water's edge, was painted about the same time but is not directly related to the 1879 exhibit (M.H. De Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco; John Singer Sargent, his Own Work, exh. cat., Coe Kerr Gallery, New York 1980, no.4, repr.).
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, p.81