Mrs. Cecil Wade
(Frances Frew Wade)
John Singer Sargent -- American painter  
Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, KC
Oil on canvas
167.6 x 137.8 cm (66 x 54 1/4 in.)
Gift of the Enid and Crosby Kemper Foundation)
 Jpg: NelsonWebshots
(see interactive zoom at the Nelson)

From the Neson Atkins:
Mrs. Cecil Wade was among the first significant commissions that Sargent received after his move to London. The painting forms a fascinating pendant to Madame X. Both paintings stress the hourglass silhouette of the female figure and the dramatic and elegant profile of the head. Madame X, however, seems corrupt and jaded, whereas Mrs. Wade appears prim and impeccably correct, and conveys a self-assurance remarkable for a young woman of 23. According to a descendant of the sitter, Mrs. Wade "found the young artist very shy and difficult to talk to during the sittings. But then she was also very shy and reserved."

In the 1880s Sargent's free brushwork was still considered "audacious" and "eccentric" in England, but his virtuosity commanded attention. "The painting is of a most dashing sort," a critic for the Art Journal noted in 1887 of Mrs. Cecil Wade. "The wonderful rendering of the dress and the background cannot fail to evoke admiration."
(Nelson Atkins 12-7-1989)


Created 1998