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A Dinner Table at Night

John Singer Sargent American

Not on view

In 1884, Sargent visited Sussex to paint a full-length portrait of Edith Vickers (d. 1909). Among the many informal pictures he also produced during his sojourn in the countryside is this sketch of Edith and her husband, Albert (1839–1919), in their dining room. It is designed to appear without artifice, as if accidental rather than constructed. As the original title, The Glass of Port (Le Verre de Porto), implies, the work shows the moment after the dinner table has been cleared and decanters of port have been brought in.
The flowers, glass, and silver on the table are exquisitely rendered to reveal the reflection and absorption of the moody light in the room. Albert is only partially represented on the extreme margins of the canvas. Sargent’s use of reddish tones and the unorthodox disposition of the figures suggests the painting may have been inspired by the works of Édouard Manet and Edgar Degas.

A Dinner Table at Night, John Singer Sargent (American, Florence 1856–1925 London), Oil on canvas , American

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