The Tates




Read More

I’ve previously gushed about how Mrs. Carl Meyer and Her Children is my favorite parent+kids portrait by Sargent. I’m so envious of you getting to see it in person!

And yes, I’ll definitely add Gwen John’s Self Portrait (1902) to the queue at theselfiemuseum. Thanks!

I remembered you having posted that one. What primarily struck me about it in person was how, in spite of her pink froofy dress and the ribbon in her hair, Mrs. Carl Meyer’s face does not look traditionally “feminine” in that portrait, either by modern standards or compared to women in other paintings from that same time period. I love that the portrait celebrates her without “softening” her face to make her look more like some culturally imposed ideal of womanly beauty. She looks really strong, and so do her children. 

That’s the thing, for me, about Sargent’s portraits. There’s an honesty to them. He obviously was good enough about representing his subjects in a manner that they appreciated that they were willing to pay large amounts to have him paint them, and there were some contemporary critics who sniffed about “flattery”. But I think that was mostly envy.

I believe that in his best work he strove to paint his subjects in a way that honestly reflected their personalities and (in the family portraits) the relationships between them. And this painting is a beautiful example of that.

Reposted from

Tags: john singer sargent, mrs. carl meyer and her children, sargent.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.