Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    John Singer Sargent. Autograph Letter Signed.
    "John S. Sargent." Four page bifolium in French on Sargent's personal stationary, 4.5" x 7", Worcestershire, England; October 17, [circa 1885-1886]. In this letter to the French impressionist painter Claude Monet, Sargent asks the former for his advice concerning a mix of paint for use in his (Sargent's) painting, which would be entitled Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose, a large piece, painted on site, of two young girls lighting lanterns in an English garden, which turned out to be Sargent's first major success at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. This is an English translation of Sargent's letter.

    "I have some information I'd like from you which might make you burst out into laughter but please answer quickly. What sort of bright yellow can one mix with vert véronèse so that it does not darken before one's eyes? For six weeks now I have been wrestling with a garden painting on which I am reworking the grassy background. Every day it seems to get dirty and darken and I am dissatisfied but cannot think of any other solution other than this bloody combination. I know that vert véronèse [illegible]. How do you do it? There are two little girls in a garden amongst flowers, lighting Japanese lanterns, at the hour they begin to do [illegible]. It has a charming effect that I sadly discovered late in the year because [illegible] flowers [illegible] lovely evenings. And on top of that I am deeply frustrated with the chemistry of it all! I would be thankful if you told me which yellows I could use if this request does not seem too dumb to you. My best to your wife and children....

    PS: If you come to England I will fetch you in London and bring you here, it is two hours away."

    While in art school in France, Sargent met many of the leading French artists of the period, including Monet. In 1885, Sargent visited Monet in Giverny on Northern France, which resulted in his painting of Claude Monet Painting at the Edge of a Wood.

    John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) was an American expatriate artist, considered one of the leading portrait painters of his generation for his evocations of Edwardian-era luxury. He created roughly 900 oil paintings and more than 2,000 watercolors, as well as countless sketches and charcoal drawings.

    Oscar-Claude Monet (1840-1926) was a French painter, a founder of French Impressionist painting and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement's philosophy of expressing one's perceptions before nature, especially as applied to open air landscape painting.

    An extraordinary letter from one eminent artist to another.

    Condition: Except for the usual folds, letter is in good condition.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2019
    4th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 664

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $300,000 (minimum $49), plus 20% of any amount between $300,000 and $3,000,000, plus 12.5% of any amount over $3,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 35 days left to consign to the 2020 March 4 Rare Books Signature Auction Books Signature Auction - New York !

    Learn about consigning with us

    This was my first time dealing with an auction house, and I am 100% completely impressed with Heritage. There is not an aspect of this process that I have a critique for.
    Darryl S.,
    Stuart, FL
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 December 8 Civil War, Militaria, Arms & Armor Signature Auction - Dallas
    2019 December 8 Civil War, Militaria, Arms & Armor Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED SO FAR $917,493