(sketch after the oil)
Ink and pencil on paper
(image size) 34.3 x 27.3 cm. (13½ x 10¾ in.)
(sheet size) 42.5 x 32.4 cm. (16¾ x 12¾ in.)
signed 'John S. Sargent' (upper right)
The drawing shows characteristics of drawings that Sargent would do after the fact -- drawings after an original oil. Unlike Christies conclusion below, I feel this probably post dates the oil Sargent did of the sitter given the precise nature of the copy.
Sargent entered the atelier of Carolus-Duran in 1874, having been encouraged by fellow artist, Walter Launt Palmer. Sargent writes in a letter dated May 23, 1874: "My friend says M. Durand takes more interest in each of his pupils and that his atelier is less crowded and contains more gentlemanly scholars that is the case with the others, so that I dare say I shall go to that atelier rather than to Geromes [sic] or Cabanel's...Besides I admired Durand's pictures immensely in the salon, and he is considered one of the greatest french [sic] artists..." (H.B. Weinberg, The Lure of Paris: Nineteenth-Century American Painters and Their French Teachers, New York, 1991, p. 206) The close friendship and admiration Sargent felt for his teacher resulted in the 1879 Portrait of Carolus-Duran (Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts), of which the present drawing is one of two known studies. The portrait was considered a major success, regarded highly by critics and colleagues alike, and a significant achievement in Sargent's career that produced further portrait commissions.
The present work bears a faint grid of graphite lines, suggesting that this drawing may have been a final study used to transfer the work to canvas.
This work will be included in the forthcoming John Singer Sargent catalogue raisonné by Richard Ormond and Elaine Kilmurray, in collaboration with Warren Adelson and Elizabeth Oustinoff.
Sold at Christies, New York, Rockefeller Plaza, Dec 02, 2004, Lot Number 28, Sale Number 1440, $724,300.00 U.S. dollars, was estimate 30,000 - 50,000 U.S. dollars