John Singer Sargent's Mrs Carl Meyer and her Children
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 Mrs. Carl Meyer and her Children 
John Singer Sargent -- American painter  
Private collection
Oil on canvas
209.9 x 135.9 cm (79 1/2 x 52 3/4 in.)
Signed and dated 'John S Sargent 1896' 
Jpg: Art Renewal Center

Originally titled: Portrait of Mrs Carl Meyer
"Adele Meyer was the daughter of Julius Levis. She married in 1883 Carl Meyer (1851-1922), a Jewish banker, who was born in Hamburg but who became a naturalized British subject in 1877, and who was created a baronet in 1910. The Meyers' two children were Frank, who was born in 1886 and who succeeded his father as the second baronet, and Elsie Charlotte, who was born in 1885 and who married John Murray Lambert and secondly, after her first husbands' death Captain Harry Halbert."  
(Society Portraits 1850 - 1939 exhibition) 

"A later group portrait of flamboyant London culturata, Mrs Carl Meyer and her Children (1896), is as over-the-top as its patron. The gorgeous fabrics and intensity of this famous hostess is as celebrated in this painting as her lack of concern about her offspring, whose tenuous hold on her is graphically illustrated by Sargent's outrageous composition. Warmly lambasted by some of the English press and praised by others, it won a Medal of Honor at the Exposition universelle in  Paris in 1900. It has to be one of the most eccentric yet telling of any portraits, anywhere, at any time."  
( N. F. Karlins, Sargent in the Spotlight,  
Provenance - by Family decent (1) 
Exhibited (1) 

    - London, Royal Academy, 1897, no 291 
    - Boston, Copley Hall, 1899, no 15 
    - Paris, Universal Exhibition, 1900 
    - London, Tate Gallery, 1926, catalogue page 7  
    - London, Royal Academy, Winter exhibition, Exhibition of works by the late John S Sargent RA, 1926, no 331  
    - Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery, exhibition of works by John Singer Sargent, 1964, no 25  
    - Tokyo, National Museum of Western Art, English Portraits, 1975, no 63 
    - Leeds, Lotherton Hall; London, National Portrait Gallery; Detroit, Institute of Arts, John Singer Sargent and the Edwardian Age, 1979 no 41 
1)  From: Wendy & Gordon Hawksley 
<g  w @ whawksley. fsnet. co. uk>  
Date: Tue, 16 Apr 2002  

'Society Portraits 1850 - 1939' - this was an exhibition held at the Colnaghi Gallery and the Clarendon Gallery in London from 30 October to 14 December 1985. The infomation is from this catalogue of that exhibition.  


Society Portraits (1850 - 1939), 1985

John Singer Sargent Retrospective, 1989-1999

Great Expectations: John Singer Sargent Painting Children; 2004-2005

The Celebration of the life of Sir Anthony Meyer, Bart; National Gallery, London; March 3, 2005

From: Scott Thomas Buckle
scott bu  c
Date: Thu, 3 Mar 2005

Hi Natasha,

I was at the National Gallery yesterday evening and noticed that there was a new addition to room 41 that is populated with paintings by Ingres and his contemporaries --
the painting "Mrs. Carl Meyer and her Children".

[Editor's Note - the text at the NG read as follows:

Mrs Carl Meyer and her Family' is one of the American artist, John Singer Sargent's, most famous portraits. It was painted in 1896 at the Meyers' country house in Sussex.

Adèle Meyer was a well-known hostess and society figure. Her two children are Elsie Charlotte, and Frank Cecil (the father of Sir Anthony). The children lean against the back of the divan, shyly engaging the artist's eye, while the more confident Adèle confronts him with an amused and animated gaze. The swathes of silk in her extravagant dress and the strand of pearls that cascade down to her tiny feet depict her as a 'grande dame'. There was much more to her, however, than fashion and socialising - she was equally well known for her extensive and pioneering charitable works. (]

I'm not sure how long the loan of 'Mrs Carl Meyer and her children' to the gallery is for, but the painting certainly brightens up a room dominated by Delaroche's forboding 'Execution of Lady Jane Gray'.

Paul Delaroche (1797-1856) 
French romantic painter

The Execution of Lady Jane Grey 

Yours observantly,



By:  Natasha Wallace
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