Marguerite Gérard (1761 – 1837)

The Reader In the privacy of her tastefully uncluttered home, a young woman intently reads a book. Her delicately ringleted head cranes towards the pages, slightly disturbing her otherwise impeccably upright figure, which sports a fashionable late-18th-century empire waistline. A cat is settled on her lap, while her son stands listlessly at her side. This … Read more

GEORGE BELLOWS (1882-1925)

Nude, Miss Bentham  New York, 1906 Oil on canvas 181 x 89.5 cm Bellows painted this striking nude when he was studying at the New York School of Art. It demonstrates his confident ability to apply paint directly and quickly as well his admiration for earlier European realist artists, such as Manet and Courbet.  Bellows … Read more

James McNeill Whistler (1834 – 1903)

Symphony in White, No.III London, about 1865-7 Oil on canvas 51.4 x 76.9 cm Whistler inscribed a musical title on this canvas to describe a painting of two young women dressed in white. The artist chose the term ‘Symphony’ to emphasise to visitors to the Royal Academy’s exhibition in 1867 that it was purely a … Read more

Edouard Vuillard (1868 – 1940)

Madame Vuillard Arranging Her Hair Paris, 1900 Oil on cardboard 49.5 x 35.5 cm We witness a private domestic scene: the artist’s mother is posed in front of a mirror in the Parisian apartment where they lived. The snapshot effect here suggests that Vuillard based this painting on one of the numerous family photographs that … Read more

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775 – 1851)

The Sun Setting Through Vapour London, about 1809 Oil on canvas 69.2 x 101.6 cm The sun disperses the clouds and infuses sand and sea with a golden glow.  Fishermen unload their catch which is then displayed on the beach for sale. Behind, a number of ships including a first-rate man-of-war and a dismasted hulk … Read more

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864 – 1901)

A Woman Seated in a Garden Paris, about 1890 Essence on cardboard 49.4 x 31.3 cm Toulouse-Lautrec painted many studies of women posed in a garden setting in the years around 1890.  The studies were made in a public park close to his studio in Montmartre and they included friends and paid models. The unknown woman … Read more

Theodore Rousseau (1812 – 1867)

A Landscape in the Auvergne Auvergne, France, 1830 Oil on paper, laid on canvas 33 x 42.2 cm This landscape was painted directly from nature in the summer of 1830.  The young artist reacted against his narrow academic training by travelling to the mountainous Auvergne region.  Here Rousseau sought out rugged views, such as this … Read more

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841 – 1919)

Young Woman Seated Paris, about 1876-7 Oil on canvas 66 x 55.5 cm The sitter, Nina Lopez, was one of Renoir’s favourite professional models, so this is not a commissioned portrait.  Renoir painted many half-length figures and they often subsequently acquired evocative titles from the art trade. This work became known as La Pensée or Thought.  … Read more

ODILON REDON (1840 – 1916)

The Crucifixion Paris, about 1904 Oil on canvas 46 x 27 cm This crucifixion scene is based on a painting of about 1526 by the German artist Matthias Grünewald.  Redon preserves Grünewald’s central focus, with the weight of Christ’s body bending the cross. However, the grieving figures of the Virgin Mary and Saint John recede … Read more

PIERRE PUVIS DE CHAVANNES (1824 – 1898)

The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist Paris, 1869 Oil on canvas 124.5 x 166 cm Salome, to the right, witnesses the execution of Saint John; she holds a dish to receive his severed head.  In the biblical story Salome’s dance enchanted Herod and his wife Herodias, who persuaded her husband to have the saint … Read more

CAMILLE PISSARRO (1830 – 1903)

The Pond at Montfoucault Montfoucault, Normandy, 1875 Oil on canvas 73.6 x 92.7 cm The Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro painted this landscape whilst staying at a friend’s farm in Normandy in the autumn of 1875.  The artist called the remote small holding the ‘true countryside’ and he included working figures in many of his views. … Read more

SIR WILLIAM QUILLER ORCHARDSON (1832-1910)

A Portrait of Lady Orchardson London, exhibited 1875 Oil on canvas 124.5 x 97.8 cm The Scottish artist Quiller Orchardson married Ellen Moxon (about 1854-1917) in 1873.  He painted a number of portraits of her as well as using her as a model for some of his well-known genre scenes from high society.  This portrait … Read more

Jean-François Millet (1814 – 1875)

A Milkmaid Barbizon, near Paris, about 1853 Oil on canvas 32.5 x 24 cm A milkmaid, silhouetted against the moon, pauses to rebalance a heavy copper pitcher on her shoulder. Despite her small scale, the figure has a monumentality which conveys a timeless quality.  Millet came from a peasant background in Normandy and his paintings … Read more

JEAN-AUGUSTE-DOMINIQUE INGRES (1780 – 1867)

Paolo and Francesca Rome, about 1814-20 Oil on canvas 35 x 28 cm Paolo kisses Francesca, inflamed by their reading of the Arthurian romance of Guinevere and Lancelot.  Gianciotto, her deformed husband, and brother of Paolo, enters from the right and prepares to kill them.  This story of illicit lovers, condemned to an eternity in … Read more

Thomas Fearnley (1802 – 1842)

Ramsau Ramsau, Bavarian Alps, Germany, 1832 Oil on paper, laid on canvas 28 x 27 cm Fearnley painted this finished composition from nature in September 1832.  The artist was travelling to Italy when he stopped at the village of Ramsau, high in the Bavarian Alps.  His broad and fluid technique allowed him to work rapidly … Read more

Attributed to Alfred De Dreux (1810-1860)

A Horse in a Landscape Paris, possibly the 1830s Oil on canvas 34.3 x 44.4 cm This study was originally attributed to Théodore Géricault (1791-1824), but it is closer in style to his compatriot De Dreux who specialised in equestrian subjects.  He was much influenced by Gericault, but also by English sporting artists.  The unfinished … Read more

Charles-François Daubigny (1817 – 1878)

A Seascape Brittany, possibly 1867 Oil on canvas 84 x 146.5 cm This seascape probably dates from one of the artist’s trips to the rocky coast of Brittany.  Even such large canvases as this were painted on the spot by Daubigny.  The artist uses a range of techniques to capture the different textures of sky … Read more

John Crome (1768-1821) and John Berney Crome (1794-1842)

A View near Harwich Norwich, about 1805/7, overpainted about 1832 Oil on canvas 114.3 x 96.5 cm This painting was begun by John Crome about 1805/7, but it was overpainted by his son around 1832.  The alterations were made so that it formed a pair with John Berney Crome’s Near Bury St Edmunds.  The foreground … Read more

André Derain (1880 – 1954)

Portrait of Bartolomeo Savona London, 1906 Oil on canvas 45.7 x 35.4 cm Savona was a Sicilian student who was staying in the guest house Derain used during his visit to London in 1906.  According to family legend, Savona acted as the artist’s translator when he needed to visit a dentist.  He then painted this … Read more

Maurice Denis (1870 – 1943)

A Portrait of Arthur Huc Paris, 1892 Oil on millboard 28.5 x 53.5 cm This portrait was given by Denis to his patron and supporter Arthur Huc (1854 – 1932).  He was an art critic and newspaper owner in Toulouse.  The artist adopts an unusual horizontal format, allowing him to frame the nonchalantly-posed figure with … Read more

Eugène Delacroix (1798 – 1863)

Saint Stephen Borne Away by his Disciples Paris, 1862 Oil on canvas 46.6 x 38 cm Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was stoned to death outside the walls of Jerusalem in 35 AD.  As darkness falls, his disciples carry away his body.  They look anxiously about, whilst one cleans blood from the steps.  The … Read more

Gustave Courbet (1819 – 1877)

The Sea-Arch at Etretat Etretat, Normandy, 1869 Oil on canvas 76.2 x 123.1 cm The spectacular cliffs at Etretat culminate in a dramatic sea-arch with a needle of rock beyond.  Courbet visited in the summer of 1869 and in a month completed five views of the cliffs and numerous seascapes.  He worked quickly, painting out … Read more

Attributed to Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796 – 1875)

Wooded Landscape with a Pond Paris, the mid-1830s Oil on canvas 46.4 x 74.1 cm This landscape possibly shows a scene at Le Martinet, near Montpellier in South France.  Corot sketched there in 1836 and this studio work resembles a pencil drawing dated to that year.  The painting is signed and was bought as a … Read more

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796 – 1875)

Landscape with Distant Mountains Central France, the early 1840s Oil on canvas 18 x 29.8 cm This is one of numerous small informal studies that Corot painted on the spot throughout his life.  One such as this would have taken no more than a single session to complete.  He made them as private exercises which … Read more