The Weavers


Artist: John Singer Sargent (1856-1925)
Historical period(s)
Oil on canvas
H x W: 56.1 x 71.4 cm (22 1/16 x 28 1/8 in)
United States
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Oil painting

United States, weaving, work

To 1913
M. Knoedler & Co., New York, NY, to 1913 [1]

From 1913 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from M. Knoedler & Co., New York, in 1913 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See List of American Paintings other than by Whistler, A, pg. 11, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Purchased from M. Knoedler and Co., New York, November 10, 1913, (see Curatorial Remark 4, Kate Theimer, March 23, 1994, in the object record).

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
M. Knoedler & Co. (C.L. Freer source)


Although Sargent was most famous for his portraits, he is represented in the Freer collection only by genre pictures such as this one. The Weavers, probably painted in Spain, is a little-known work that was exhibited only once, at the Royal Academy in London in 1913, when a critic called it "a pictorial exclamation." A scene of workers imprisoned by their tools of trade, the painting may represent Sargent's protest against portraiture, which he found increasingly confining. "No more portraits!" he had asserted. "I abhor and abjure them and hope never to do another, especially of the Upper Classes." As Charles Lang Freer must have recognized, the painting makes an interesting companion to Breakfast in the Loggia--a picture of leisure, rather than of labor, cast more in sunshine than in shadow.

Published References
  • Thomas Lawton Linda Merrill. Freer: a legacy of art. Washington and New York, 1993. p. 198, fig. 135.
  • William Howe Downes. John S. Sargent: His Life and Work. Boston. p. 241.
  • Sir Evan Charteris. John Sargent. New York. p. 292.
  • Charles Merrill Mount. John Singer Sargent: A Biography. London. p. 361.
  • Charles Merrill Mount. The Works of John Singer Sargent in Washington. vol. 49 Washington. p. 476.
Collection Area(s)
American Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum