Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife

John Singer Sargent • Painting, 1885, 52.1×62.2 cm
About the artwork
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Portrait
Style of art: Impressionism, Realism
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1885
Size: 52.1×62.2 cm
Artwork in collection: Smart and Beautiful Natalya Kandaurova
Artwork in selections: 18 selections

Description of the artwork «Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife»

Robert Louis Stevenson and his cousin, artist Robert Alan Mowbray Stevenson – were close friends of Sargent. They met in Paris in 1874 and maintained friendly relations for many years. When around Sargent and his paintings "Madame X" erupted serious scandal, Stephenson, among others, the friends have supported the artist. For Sargent then fell on hard times, the number of orders was close to zero. He was even thinking to abandon the career of the painter, and only friends were helping him stay afloat by ordering him their portraits. One of them was painting "Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife".

Critical reaction to this picture was mixed. They called the composition of a portrait "whimsical", and the image Stevenson's "strange and unflattering". The very same writer in one of the letters stated that the portrait "too eccentric to put it out in public. I in one corner of the picture, my wife in this crazy dress, like a Ghost in another... it All sargenthouse cute and clever, but, of course, overall looks pretty damn wonderful". Stevenson, however, recognized that in this painting the artist managed to accurately grasp one aspect: being fond of something, whether it's writing a new novel or an interesting conversation, the writer jumped to his feet and began pacing the room back and forth. Apparently, Sargent portrayed Stevenson in the Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, which was published in 1886.

What was the reaction of Stevenson's wife Fanny, we can only speculate. But this is hardly a picture she liked, given that the first portrait of her husband painted by Sargent she is rumored to be destroyed. The artist painted three portraits of Stevenson. The third and last you can see in the Gallery Taft in Cincinnati. And the painting, "Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife" in 2004, was bought for 8.8 million dollars billionaire Steve Wynn to decorate her wall one of their casinos.

Author: Eugene Sidelnikov