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Study for "Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose"

John Singer Sargent American

Not on view

In 1885, while Sargent was on a boating trip on the Thames, he saw what he described as "a paradisiac sight": two little girls lighting paper lanterns at dusk in a garden planted with roses. This vision was the direct inspiration for his monumental exhibition picture Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose (Tate, United Kingdom), painted during the late summer and autumn of 1885 and 1886 in Broadway. Sargent made numerous drawings and oil sketches in preparation for the composition and used a friend’s daughters for models. The finished portrait is deliberately conceived and carefully constructed but preparatory works such as this one preserve a brilliant immediacy while evoking the charm of the final composition. Here, Sargent records the position of Polly, the girl at right, and the blossoms, which magically float around her head like a halo.

Study for "Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose", John Singer Sargent (American, Florence 1856–1925 London), Oil on canvas, American

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