WAG 2634


A Greek Orthodox priest awaits an evening service on Corfu. Sargent painted 'Vespers' there on a visit in the autumn of 1909. As he grew older Sargent abandoned the showy society portraits of his youth. He preferred intimate landscapes and townscapes, usually in watercolour. The technique of this oil painting imitates watercolour methods. The composition is informal, with the priest placed in a corner, his figure cut off below his waist. The priest was added last, over the completed scene. Sargent exhibited and sold this painting at London’s Royal Academy the following summer. ACR Carter visted the Royal Academy exhibition where this painting was displayed in 1910, writing: 'With the temporary secession of Mr Sargent from portraiture to landscape the Academy gains in curiosity what it loses in strength. Manifestly brilliant studies of sunlight, these exercises do not yet take us far on the road which the painter has doubtless planned for himself in the future'.