John Singer Sargent's "Chronic Wertheimerism"

From October 1999 through February 2000, The Jewish Museum exhibited a group of twelve  portraits of the London art dealer Asher Wertheimer and his family for the first time since they hung privately in the family's home nearly a century ago.

And drat, I missed it! So here's a little post-view (just in case you missed it too):

Asher Wertheimer, 1898

In 1898, John Singer Sargent would embark on his largest private portrait commission that would, when it was finally finished, span ten years and include twelve oil portraits. 

Mrs Asher B. Wertheimer, 1898

Asher was a highly respected art dealer and his wife Flora was the daughter of an art dealer.

Ena and Betty, Daughters, 1901

This suite of paintings would be unmatched by anything outside of Sargent's mural work. 

Alfred, Son, 1901

It started simple enough. Asher Wertheimer had hired John to paint his wife and himself in two pendent portraits which would celebrate their silver wedding anniversary. 

Hylda, Daughter, 1901

Essie, Ruby and Ferdinand, Children, 1902

As so many had before them, the Wertheimers fell in love with the charming artist. Unlike others though, they were utterly insatiable for his work in depicting their family. 

Edward, Son, 1902

Mrs Wertheimer, 1904

Hylda, Almina and Conway, Children, 1905

With one portrait done, Asher and his wife would want another, and then another, and then yet another after that. 

Portrait of Ena Wertheimer: "A Vele Gonfie" 1905

Sargent would joke that he felt he was in a state of "chronic Wertheimerism." 

Betty Wertheimer 1908

Almina, Daughter, 1908

The bond between them would become so strong that the family held a chair at their dinner table in reserve for whenever he wanted to drop in -- and he would.

Eva Wertheimer & Antonio Mancini, 1904 Watercolor

The Wertheimer dining room, which housed eight of the twelve portraits, was affectionately dubbed "Sargent's Mess."

Betty Wertheimer Salaman 1910-1912 Watercolor


Candace X. Moore said...

Absolutely gorgeous and inspiring. Imagine being surrounded by such beautiful portraits. Thank you for posting. Regards.

vanessa morris said...

Dear Karin,

How wonderful! I am longing to be adopted by a portrait loving family!

Hylda's dress is breathtaking.

Thanks for posting this.

Camas, Washington

My Painting Studio said...

Asher Wertheimer was sort of like a "modern-day" Lorenzo de Medici.

Lorenzo's greatest contribution to history was his patronage of the arts.

He contributed more than anyone to the flowering of Florentine genius in the late 15th century, supporting such giants as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.

Lorenzo treated the artists under his protection with respect and warm-hearted familiarity.