'On his holidays', 1901-2
John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925)
Accession Number LL3136
Sargent went on holiday to Norway in 1901 with the McCulloch family. The father, George McCulloch, derived his wealth from Australian mining companies and was the single most important collector of late Victorian painting — indeed many of the paintings in this room were bought by Lever from the sale of his collections in 1913. His son Alexander, then a schoolboy on holiday from Winchester College, is here relaxing from salmon fishing in a mood of thoughtful melancholy.
Delight in the descriptive power of dazzling, free brushwork, and in the light and colour it can create, is rare in British art; here it is achieved with a marvellous economy of means by an American artist under the influence of French impressionism.
An extended study of 'On his holidays' is available online as part of our picture of the month series.