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Wineglasses
John Singer Sargent
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Although dated 1874 on the canvas, Sargent most likely painted this study of a shaded veranda the following year at Saint-Enogat in Brittany. He spent the summer of 1875 there, when he was just 19 years old. The fluid brushwork shows the influence of Impressionism, a new way of painting, particularly outdoors, which Sargent had been studying while in Paris. This type of setting – an outdoor location where there is eating and drinking – often appears in Impressionist paintings.

Sargent is particularly attentive to the play of light and the way that objects, such as the tablecloth, reflect light and colours from their surroundings. Despite its apparent informality, this is a structured, even complex, composition. Sargent is interested in the different shapes within the scene and in the visual relationship between surfaces and edges.

He gave the painting to his teacher, Emile Carolus-Duran, perhaps as a demonstration piece to show his skill in capturing light.

Key facts
Artist John Singer Sargent
Artist dates 1856 - 1925
Full title Wineglasses
Date made probably 1875
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 45 × 37.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Accepted by HM Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to the National Gallery, 2018
Inventory number NG6670
Location in Gallery Room 44
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