John Singer Sargent

Asher Wertheimer


John Singer Sargent 1856–1925
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 1473 × 978 mm
frame: 1790 × 1280 × 147 mm
Presented by the widow and family of Asher Wertheimer in accordance with his wishes 1922

Catalogue entry


Inscr. ‘John S. Sargent’ t.l. and ‘1898’ t.r.
Canvas, 58×38 1/2 (147·5×98).
Presented to the National Gallery by the widow and family of Asher Wertheimer in accordance with his wishes 1922; transferred 1926.
Coll: This and N03706N03713 were commissioned from the artist.
Exh: R.A., 1898 (603); Loan Exhibition of Portraits, National Academy of Design, New York, December 1898 (220); Copley Hall, Boston, February–March 1899 (19); Exposition Universelle, Paris, 1900 (section américaine, 5).
Lit: Robert Ross, ‘The Wertheimer Sargents’ in Art Journal, 1911, pp.7–8, repr. p.2; Downes, 1925, pp.43–6, 182, repr. facing p.168; Charteris, 1927, pp.140, 164–5, 177, 267; Mount, 1955, pp.223–5, 398–9, 435, repr. p.144; McKibbin, 1956, p.130; Mount, 1957, pp.186–7, 191, 330–1, 344.
Repr: Pousette-Dart, 1924, n.p.; Manson and Meynell, 1927, n.p.

This is the first of the series of portraits of the Wertheimer family, and was commissioned to celebrate the silver wedding anniversary of Asher Wertheimer and his wife. Sargent painted a companion three-quarter-length picture of Mrs Wertheimer in a white dress, also exhibited at the Royal Academy, 1898 (936), but this was not considered entirely satisfactory and the artist painted another portrait of her in 1904 (N03706).

Asher Wertheimer (1844–1918), London-born picture and fine art dealer of 158 New Bond Street, is here shown with his black poodle ‘Noble’. McKibbin records that two drawings exist for this in a notebook belonging to the Fogg Art Museum (1937.7.11, Nos.9, 10). Mount (1957, p.187) records that the artist first met Wertheimer either in 1896 or early in 1897, and suggests that Wertheimer was indirectly responsible for obtaining the artist further portrait commissions, those of the rest of the Wertheimer family being perhaps done in part return for this additional work.

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

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