Mrs. Carl Meyer and her Children by John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) is a seductive and deeply revealing group portrait that captures the world of a privileged family of Jewish origin in late Victorian England. It depicts Adèle Meyer, a wealthy British philanthropist, well-known society hostess, and political activist, with her children, Elsie Charlotte and Frank Cecil. This extraordinary portrait is exhibited together with a wealth of material including family portraits, ephemera, documents, personal correspondence, and caricatures. The portrait is on loan from the Tate Britain and has not been on view in the United States for over ten years.
Dining room at Shortgrove (Sargent’s painting Mrs. Carl Meyer and her Children above the mantle). Photograph reproduced in the Shortgrove sale catalogue, July 28, 1924, Knight Frank and Rutley.
John Singer Sargent, Mrs. Carl Meyer and her Children, 1896, oil on canvas. Tate Britain, bequeathed by Adèle, Lady Meyer, 1930, with a life interest for her son and grandson and presented in 2005 in celebration of the lives of Sir Anthony and Lady Barbadee Meyer, accessioned 2009.
John Singer Sargent, Elsie Meyer, 1908, charcoal on paper; unframed: 24 1/2 x 18 3/4 in.; Framed: 36 x 30 in. Private Collection, Georgia.
Glyn Philpot, Frank Meyer, 1911, oil on canvas, 44 x 36 in. Private Collection, United Kingdom.
Herbert von Herkomer, Carl Meyer, 1908, oil on canvas (canvas: 56 x 44 in. framed: 65 x 54 in.). The painting Mrs. Carl Meyer and her Children can be seen in the background.
Max Beerbohm, Mr. Carl Meyer, c. 1910, 7.9 x 11.2 in. (framed size). Private Collection, United Kingdom.
Cartoon lampooning Mrs. Carl Meyer and her Children by John Singer Sargent, published in Punch, 1897. Courtesy of the Fales Library & Special Collection, New York University.
Carl Meyer’s pendant with photograph of Adèle Meyer, 1882-83, 2.4 x 1.6 in. Private collection, United Kingdom.
Photograph of Adèle Meyer, c. 1892. Private collection, United Kingdom. Image provided by Cultural Heritage Digitisation Ltd.
Photograph of Adèle Meyer. Private collection, United Kingdom. Image provided by Cultural Heritage Digitisation Ltd.
The exhibition is organized by Norman L. Kleeblatt, Susan & Elihu Rose Chief Curator, the Jewish Museum. Images courtesy The Jewish Museum.