An exhibition illustrating the Golden Age of travel and the close friendship Wilfrid and Jane shared with John Singer Sargent, who, in the years before WWI, organised painting trips with the couple and often featured them in his work.
Coinciding with the exhibition Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends at the National Portrait Gallery, Messum’s show includes over 70 works by the de Glehns – most of which have never been exhibited before – that capture the talent and joie-de-vivre of two people who, no matter where they went, were at home with the world.
Wilfrid was one of England’s leading Impressionists, recognised for his painterly style and vibrant orchestrations of colour, light and shadow. He became closely involved with Anglo-American art circles through Sargent and Edwin Austin Abbey and, in 1904, married Jane Erin Emmet, the American-born painter and distant cousin of the novelist Henry James.
Jane came from an old New York family and formed part of five generations of American artists, all of them women. She particularly excelled at portrait drawing, capturing her sitter's likeness with a sure and careful hand and insightful eye for human nature. Together they found creative support and inspiration, painting a world and a way of life, now largely gone.
Recent access to archival materials, including Jane’s letters in the Smithsonian, bring to life the artists, writers and performers they knew, and the catalogue includes excerpts from letters by Sargent, Henry James, Eliza Wedgwood and Jane’s sisters Rosina Emmet Sherwood and Lydia Field Emmet.
For over 30 years, Messum’s have represented The Studio Estate of Wilfrid and Jane de Glehn. This latest exhibition is made up of over 70 works dating from 1903 to 1951, most of which come directly from the Estate and have never been offered before.