John Singer Sargent, (1856 – 1925)
Wilfrid & Jane de Glehn at
“The Fountain, Villa Torlonia Frascati”,
oil on canvas
The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois
Wilfrid first met John Singer Sargent when he was still a student at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. The American painter Edwin Austin Abbey hired Wilfrid as his assistant on the ambitious mural decorations that he and Sargent had been commissioned to produce for the Boston Public Library. This working relationship developed into a firm friendship that lasted far beyond the period of the commission. Wilfrid and Sargent shared a fundamental cosmopolitanism in outlook and were both keen musicians. On hearing the news of Wilfrid’s engagement in 1903, Sargent was anxious that he would perhaps see less of his friend, especially if he were to move to the US — a possibility since Jane Emmet was American. The fear proved unfounded, however. Sargent and Jane became good friends, and all three travelled together regularly on the continent in the years leading up to the Great War. They were accompanied by the other frequent members of Sargent’s circle — Sargent’s sister, Emily, and Eliza Wedgwood. These travelling companions often appear incidentally in one another’s paintings, but occasionally the couple, particularly Jane, formed the main focus in one of Sargent’s paintings. Perhaps most famously, this is the case in Sargent’s The Fountain, Villa Torlonia, Frascati, Italy, (1907), The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois.
Jane Emmet de Glehn,
Eliza in Frascati,