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Adolphe Monticelli, 'Subject Composition', probably 1870-90

Key facts
Full title Subject Composition
Artist Adolphe Monticelli
Artist dates 1824 - 1886
Date made probably 1870-90
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 42 × 29.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Presented as part of the 'Harry Wearne Collection of Twelve Paintings by Monticelli' to the Tate Gallery, 1939; transferred, 1956
Inventory number NG5016
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Subject Composition
Adolphe Monticelli

Two standing women and a seated dog are seen in what may be a park. The picture perfectly summarises the achievements of the new technique that Monticelli had developed by the mid-1870s. He was applying his paint thickly, varying the strokes in both size and direction, and he also enriched his colour palette. The specific subject is often difficult to identify in these panels in which colour and content are merged together.

This painting was formerly in the collection of the Dutch artist and collector Hendrik Willem Mesdag (1831–1915). A portion of his collection, including this picture, was sold in New York in 1920, and entered the collection of Mr Harry Wearne. The painting was later presented to the Tate in 1939, together with another 11 works by Monticelli. This group of pictures was eventually transferred to the National Gallery in 1956.

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