Literature: Llewellyn, Sacha, and Paul Liss. Portrait of an Artist. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p.90.
According to a formula favoured by Legros for his teaching demonstrations at the Slade School of Fine Art, this Head Study is rapidly painted, placing the onus on rendering the personality of the sitter. The majestic features of the model stand out against the neutral background, following a layout that the artist would also adopt in the composition of his medals.
This oil sketch was most likely executed during a single sitting, thus showing the mastery of the French draughtsman.
Comparable works include Legros’ Portrait of Auguste Rodin (1882) in the Musée Rodin, as well as the Study of Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones (1879), Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
This portrait comes from the collection of the late Alan M. Fortunoff (1933-2000), a retail visionary, who transformed the Fortunoff Department Store, and aided the appreciation of Modern British Art in North America.