Catalogue entry


Not inscribed.
Canvas, 64 1/4×45 1/4 (163×115).
Presented to the National Gallery by the widow and family of Asher Wertheimer in accordance with his wishes 1922; transferred 1926.
Coll: As for N03705.
Lit: Robert Ross, ‘The Wertheimer Sargents’ in Art Journal, 1911, p.8; Downes, 1925, p.199; Charteris, 1927, p.269; Mount, 1955, pp.225, 437; McKibbin, 1956, p.130; Mount, 1957, pp.187–8, 346.

This is an unfinished full-scale portrait sketch which was begun in Paris in 1902 and was interrupted by the death of the sitter the same year. Edward Wertheimer (1873–1902), the eldest of Asher's four sons, was the only one to take an interest in his father's profession as a dealer, and Mount quotes a letter from Sargent to Mrs Isabella Stewart Gardner of Boston, dated 27 October 1898 (1957, p.188), in which the painter refers to a letter of introduction he is sending her on behalf of Edward Wertheimer. Mr John Mathias told the compiler that so far as he had been able to ascertain Edward never actually participated in the running of his father's business; he was a linguist and a musician (letter of 8 June 1961). Mount also wrote to the compiler (letter of 15 May 1963) pointing out that the sitter was the prototype of the chief character in Somerset Maugham's story The Alien Corn.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II