with his Wife
-- American painter
x 32 1/8 in.
Fine Art Collection
The painting was
notice in the reviews when it was exhibited, however I find it one of
favorites of John's work and one of his truest Impressionistic
1859-1927) met Alice Louise Guérin in Paris in 1884 and they
two years later. Alice became Paul's favorite model. Over the years he
painted her in oils, pastels, and lithographs. When they visited
she was nineteen years old and he thirty.
Paul was one of
friends. They had met in Paris in 1878 when Paul was 18 years old
and Sargent 22. Sargent was becoming known to the public and getting
for work. Helleu on the other hand at very low ebb in his life.
The story goes that Paul Helleu was terribly despondent,
strapped with hardly any money to even eat. He was at the edge of the
of having to leave his studies in art for lack of funds. He had not
anything and was deeply discouraged.
accept, Helleu, but not as a gift. I sell my own pictures, and I know
they cost me by the time they are out of my hand. I should never enjoy
this pastel if I hadn't paid you a fair and honest price for it." And
paid him a thousand-franc note. Paul had never even seen a
note before (Charteris p.45).
Sargent, having heard
and visited Helleu at his gallery and without mentioning Paul's
straights, picked out one of his paintings, and
praised its merits. Paul was so flattered the successful Sargent would
think so kindly of his work that he offered to give it to him.
remained fast and dear friends. In Sargent's own troubled moments, as
the loss of his father, it was Paul and his wife, among others, who
and stayed a while in England. And it was the two of them along with
artists that went to the Netherlands to in 1883 to study Frans
would sometimes paint portraits for his closest friends, and he would
them as gifts. Many of these might be seen as "unfinished" but they
meant to be. Another portrait was made for Paul as a gift
done sometime between 1885 and 1889.
Today we think of
among other things, as one of the great American Impressionist artists.
But this was not always the case. In fact, the poor response he got
his early impressionist work for critical review made him shy away from
it for exhibition. He was, after all, hitting his stride with
by the end of the 1880's and was considered one of the best.
After the tepid
Helleu Sketching with his Wife Sargent stopped submitting his
work for critical exhibition. Today, this painting is considered one of
Sargent's signature pieces and it's beauty and subtlety speaks for
In considering his
it is so
difficult to fully grasp the incredible range of this man's talent.
Monet was undoubtedly the greatest impressionist, but it is hard to see
Monet painting Paul Helleu Sketching with the delicate touch
of a Portrait of Edouard and Marie-Louise Pailleron . . . .
the brevity of
lines in a Study
for El Jaleo; the delicate blending of color in an Egyptian
Girl; the mastery of watercolors in a Villa
di Marlia, Lucca: The Balustrade; and there are so many other
of depth and breadth of this man's talent. In fact, it is safe to say
a Paul Klee, a Vincent van Gogh, a Paul Gauguin, a Mark Rothko, or any of
have nearly the range of talent that Sargent had. John Singer Sargent
the last of his kind. He was the last great generalist.
An Exhibition -- Whitney
Museum, NY & The Art Institute of Chicago 1986-1987
Swiss-born painter and graphic artist -- primitive art, surrealism,
and children's art all seem blended into his small-scale, delicate
watercolors, and drawings.
Vincent van Gogh
Dutch postimpressionist painter whose work represents the archetype of
postimpressionist painter whose lush color, flat two-dimensional forms,
and subject matter helped form the basis of modern art
abstract artist who hit his form in the 40's and 50,s (National
Gallery of Art)