John Singer Sargent

Claude Monet Painting by the Edge of a Wood


Not on display

John Singer Sargent 1856–1925
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 540 × 648 mm
frame: 618 × 734 × 70 mm
Presented by Miss Emily Sargent and Mrs Ormond through the Art Fund 1925

Display caption

Sargent first met Monet in 1876, but the two artists were closest ten years later. It was probably in 1885 that they painted together at Giverny, near Paris. Sargent admired the way that Monet worked out of doors, and imitated some of his subjects and methods in sketches such as this. It is characteristic of Sargent to give a human view of Monet's practice and of the patience of his wife, who sits behind him. When he settled in London in 1885 Sargent was initially viewed as avant-garde, but came to be the greatest society portraitist of his day.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry


Not inscribed.
Canvas, 21 1/4×25 1/2 (54×65).
Presented by Miss Emily Sargent and Mrs Ormond through the National Art-Collections Fund 1925.
Coll: Sargent Sale, Christie's, 24 July 1925 (140), bt. by Miss Emily Sargent and Mrs Ormond for presentation to the Tate Gallery.
Exh: Copley Hall, Boston, February–March 1899 (72), as ‘Sketch of Claude Monet painting’; Tate Gallery, June–October 1926.
Lit: N.A.C.F. Report 1925, 1926, p.26, repr.; Downes, 1925, p.150; Charteris, 1927, pp.96–7, 133, 261; Mount, 1955, pp.153, 446 (as 1889); McKibbin, 1956, p.111; Mount, 1957, pp.129–30, 356 (as 1889); Douglas Cooper, Claude Monet (Arts Council exhibition catalogue), 1957, p.28.

Sargent painted two portraits of Claude Monet, one of which, showing the sitter in profile, was exhibited at the New Gallery, summer 1888 (211), and is described in a review published in the Art Journal, 1888, p.221. Sargent afterwards presented this portrait to the National Academy of Design as his Diploma work. The Tate picture, of the same date, was painted at Giverny in the spring of 1888 (Cooper, op. cit.), and Mme Monet (then still Mme Ernest Hoschedé) is shown to the right of the picture.

Sargent first met Monet some time between 1878 and 1882; at the time of this picture he had recently bought Monet's ‘Rock at Tréport’ and had written to Monet to express the warmest admiration for his work. This portrait of him was painted under his influence which was felt in much of Sargent's work during the years 1888–90. Comparable works are his two pictures of Paul Helleu and his wife, one showing Helleu sketching at Fladbury, the other with his wife and Emily Sargent in boats at Calcot Mill, both painted in 1889 and now in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum and Mr Houghton P. Metcalfe, Middleburg, Virginia, respectively.

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

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