8 x 10"
oil on panel
Included in my upcoming solo show Sargentology, featuring a portrait of Lady Agnew of Lochnaw by John Singer Sargent.
Andrew Noel Agnew, a lawyer who had inherited the title of Baron and the estates of Lochnaw, commissioned the portrait of his wife, Gertrude. In 1893, the painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy and made Sargent a big name for himself, soon becoming the most sought-after portrait artist in high society.
It took only six sittings for Sargent to complete Gertrude's portrait. Interestingly, she was in poor health at the time, recovering from a severe bout of influenza, which may explain the slight paleness of her skin in the painting. It really is her silk dress and purple sash that stand out - and the portrait elevated Gertrude in high society circles, as a beauty and a fashionista.
Here's the kicker - Andrew and Gertrude spent so much on lavish parties that they ended up in debt, having to sell off many works of art, including this portrait. The Scottish National Gallery purchased the painting in 1925, thankfully.
Please click here for a larger view.