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John Singer Sargent An Out-of-Doors Study (formerly known as Paul Helleu Sketching with His Wife)


Price: Sale Price: $22.49
Regular Price: $44.99


A man and a woman siting in the grass


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Item # 26513 Finished size:
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Product #: P26513
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Helleu and his young wife Alice were among the vistors to Fladbury Rectory on the River Avon in Worcestershire which Sargent rented in the summer of 1889, and where he painted a series of river scenes, landscapes and figure studies. The present work lies somewhere on the cusp between a landscape study and the portrayal of the character of the individuals represented. Helleu and his wife are much more than models orr figures in a landscape: we are made vividly aware of his intense nervous energy and absorption as he paints, and of her contrasting placidity and listlessness. The subject itself, the composition - a close-up, titlted viewpoint, with little apatial paint surface all declare it one of his most experimental, Impressionst pictures. There is a satisfying tension between the gestures of abandon i nthe facture - the richly textured grasses painted in long, slashing brush strokes, the curves of the hats in thick, creamy sweeps - and the essential tautness of the design. For all its apparent informality and "holiday" air, this a deliberate and structed work constructed around a pattern of geometric lines. The picture space is bisected twice, vertically by the slenderupright easel support and diagonally by the bright red canoe, which makes a dramatic linear and chromatic slice across the picture. There is further linear emphasis in the edges of the propped-up canvas, the discarded oar, the palette and the fan of paint brushes in Helleu's hand and the characteristic angles of his bony arms, knees and fingers.

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