Object Image

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

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 Met (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).

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

1897
Oil on canvas
170.8 x 108.0cm
Image and text © Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2018

Where you'll find this

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Permanent collection