Mrs. Walter Rathbone Bacon (Virginia Purdy Barker, 1862–1919)

Artist: Anders Zorn (Swedish, Mora 1860–1920 Mora)

Date: 1897

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 67 1/4 x 42 1/2 in. (170.8 x 108 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Walter Rathbone Bacon, in memory of her husband, 1917

Accession Number: 17.204


Zorn found a loyal and enthusiastic clientele among upper-class Americans like Virginia Bacon and her family; her brother-in-law, Edward, commissioned this portrait along with one of himself, now also in the Metropolitan (19.112). Virginia sat for Zorn in 1897, during his third visit to the States. With assured, fluid brushwork and soft color harmonies, he portrayed his sitter in a moment of unaffected grace, hugging her collie dog. The dynamic, diagonal composition and high vantage point, unusual in the artist’s work, may be a bid to rival John Singer Sargent, who painted Virginia the previous year (Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina).