John Singer Sargent

Portrait of Robert Mathias


Oil paint on canvas
Support: 1017 x 760 mm
Bequeathed by Robert Mathias 1996

Technique and condition

The painting is in oil on plain-woven, linen canvas. It has a late-twentieth-century lining, the canvas a synthetic fibre and the adhesive a waxy synthetic resin. The pine stretcher is not the original; it is slightly too small for the image and has been extended to fit with a wooden batten on the left edge.

The ground is white, thin and smooth, probably a commercial priming. The paint was applied with vigourous brushwork, thin in the dark background and costume, thick in the light areas. Apart from minor drying cracks around the sitter's right hand, the paint is in very good condition. The varnish is a modern synthetic resin. A label on the back says that it was cleaned, restored and revarnished in 1976, name of firm supplied.

Rica Jones
November 2001