John Singer Sargent

Ena and Betty, Daughters of Asher and Mrs Wertheimer

1901

On display at Tate Britain

Artist
John Singer Sargent 1856–1925
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 1854 x 1308 mm
frame: 2270 x 1706 x 210 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the widow and family of Asher Wertheimer in accordance with his wishes 1922
Reference
N03708

Display caption

This is one of a series of portraits Sargent was commissioned to make of the family of the art dealer Asher Wertheimer (1844–1918). Sargent befriended the family and Wertheimer helped Sargent obtain commissions. This portrait shows Wertheimer’s eldest daughters, Helena (Ena) and Elizabeth (Betty). Sargent was attracted by the charm of the Wertheimer family, especially the vivacity of Ena (right), something which is clearly revealed in this portrait. The different textures of the sisters’ dresses are skilfully evoked, the rich depth of Betty’s red velvet contrasting with the shine of Ena’s white damask.

Gallery label, February 2016

Catalogue entry

N03708 ENA AND BETTY, DAUGHTERS OF ASHER AND MRS WERTHEIMER 1901

Inscr. ‘John S. Sargent 1901’ b.r.
Canvas, 73×51 1/2 (185·5×131).
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.
Exh: R.A., 1901 (178), as ‘Daughters of A. Wertheimer, Esq.’
Lit: Robert Ross, ‘The Wertheimer Sargents’ in Art Journal, 1911, p.8, repr. p.5; Downes, 1925, pp.46, 193, repr. facing p.200; Charteris, 1927, pp.164–5, 269, repr. facing p.166; Mount, 1955, pp.225, 436; McKibbin, 1956, p.130; Mount, 1957, pp.187, 345.
Repr: Royal Academy Pictures, 1901, p.132; Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 1902, facing p.61; Wood, n.d., pl.7 (in colour).

Ena (or Helena, afterwards Mrs Robert M. Mathias, 1874–1935) in the light-coloured dress, and Betty (Mrs Euston A. Salaman, 1877–1953; married secondly, Major Arthur Ricketts, M.D.), on her sister's right-hand side, were the eldest and second eldest daughters of Asher and Mrs Wertheimer (information from Mr John Mathias, son of Helena Mathias, 8 June 1961).

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

Features

Tate Etc

MicroTate 12

MicroTate: Camila Batmanghelidjh, Josh Lacey, Hattie Ellis and Thomas Scheibitz on works in Tate collection, Tate Etc. issue 12

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