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Portrait of a Woman, Her Head Turned to the Right, Wearing an Earring

Artist:
Joseph Wright (Wright of Derby) (British, Derby 1734–1797 Derby)
Date:
ca. 1770–72
Medium:
Pastel on blue laid paper
Dimensions:
sheet: 15 7/8 x 11 in. (40.3 x 28 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 2007
Accession Number:
2007.40
Not on view
One of the most accomplished and inventive artists of his generation, Joseph Wright "of Derby" was based in the English Midlands for most of his career, becoming known as a portraitist in oils and for the striking night pieces of contemporary subjects he sent to London exhibitions. This highly finished drawing belongs to a group of about a dozen head studies in pastels or chalks that Wright executed during the decade before 1773, when he departed for two years of study in Italy. Although the drawing demonstrates Wright's masterful ability to capture a likeness, it has not been related to a known portrait commission. The informality of the subject's open-necked gown, together with her sharply turned head and averted gaze, suggest that she was intended to be seen as a character type, and that the model was a friend or family member.
Margaret Romana Simpson (British, died 1901); William Bemrose, Jr. (British, 1831–1908); W. Wright Bemrose (British, 20th century); Denys Eyre Bower (British, 1905–1977); Sale, Christie's, London, June 5, 2006, lot 52; Vendor: Katrin Bellinger Kunsthandel, Munich
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," April 14, 2008–July 13, 2008.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Pastel Portraits: Images of 18th-Century Europe," May 17, 2011–.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Eighteenth-Century Pastels," August 6, 2013–December 29, 2013.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paper Chase: Two Decades of Collecting Drawings and Prints," December 9, 2014–March 16, 2015.

Stijn Alsteens, Carmen C. Bambach, Constance C. McPhee, Nadine Orenstein, Perrin Stein "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2006-2007." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 65, no. 2, New York, Fall 2007, p. 30, ill.

Elizabeth E. Barker "Joseph Wright's Pastel Portrait of a Woman; Part I: A Survey of the Drawings of Joseph Wright." in The Metropolitan Museum Journal. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 44, 2009, fig. no. 3, 91-99, ill.

Constance C. McPhee "Joseph Wright's Pastel Portrait of a Woman; Part II: Sources, Meaning, and Context: Joseph Wright's Pastel Portrait of a Woman: An Article in Three Parts." in The Metropolitan Museum Journal. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 44, 2009, fig. no. 3, 100-112, ill.

Marjorie Shelley "Joseph Wright's Pastel Portrait of a Woman; Part III: Technique and Aesthetics." in The Metropolitan Museum Journal. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 44, 2009, fig. no. 3, 113-120, ill.

Jean-Luc Baroni Master Drawings at the Salon du Dessin Paris. Dealer cat. 2011, cat. no. 13, fig. no. 1, ill.

Katharine Baetjer, Marjorie Shelley "Pastel Portraits, Images of 18th-Century Europe" The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. 2011.



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