N04469 MRS CHARLES HUNTER 1898
Inscr. ‘John S. Sargent’ t.l. and ‘1898’ t.r.
Canvas, 58 1/4×35 1/4 (148×89·5).
Presented by Mrs Charles Hunter through the National Art-Collections Fund 1929.
Coll: Presumably commissioned from the artist by the sitter 1898.
Exh: Copley Hall, Boston, February–March 1899 (9); R.A., 1899 (18); Special Inaugural Exhibition, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1904 (178); Venice Biennale, 1907 (English Pavilion, 27); 53rd Autumn Exhibition, Liverpool, September–December 1925 (144); R.A., winter 1926 (303); York, March–May 1926 (30); Tate Gallery, June–October 1926.
Lit: Art Journal, 1899, p.178; Downes, 1925, pp.52, 186–7; Charteris, 1927, pp.168, 267; N.A.C.F. Report 1929, 1930, p.44, repr. facing p.44; Mount, 1955, pp.214–15, 436, repr. p.144; McKibbin, 1956, p.102; Mount, 1957, pp.177–8, 345.
Repr: Manson and Meynell, 1927, n.p.; National Gallery, Millbank [Tate Gallery], Review of the Acquisitions, 1927–29, 1930, p.45.
Sargent first met Mrs Charles Hunter (née Mary Smyth) in 1895 and the two became firm friends; indeed, Mrs Hunter seems to have been the artist's confidante. Three years later, in 1898, Sargent painted her portrait. She was famous for her salons in London and house parties at Hill Hall, Epping, where many literary and artistic figures foregathered (see also N04180). A watercolour portrait of 1902 was lent by Mrs Hunter to the Sargent Memorial exhibition in 1926 (119). A marble head and shoulders portrait of her carved by Rodin in 1906 is also in the Tate (see Ronald Alley, Foreign Paintings, Drawings and Sculptures, Tate Gallery, 1959, N04116).
The Art Journal reviewer saw an echo of Rubens's ‘Chapeau de Paille’ in Sargent's treatment and pose of his sitter in this portrait.
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II