London, South Kensington
4 September 2014
John William Waterhouse, R.A. (1849-1917)
Study of the head of a young man, possibly for Narcissus
oil on canvas
21 x 16 in. (53.4 x 40.7 cm.)
Remaining Works of the late J.W. Waterhouse; Christie's, London, 23 July 1926.
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, London, 17 March 1999, lot 110.
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P. Trippi, J.W. Waterhouse, London, 2002, pl.133, p.164.
This oil sketch dates from the late 1890s, and it has been suggested by Peter Trippi that it may be a study for either Narcissus or Zephyrus. The very high finish of the sitter's face is in contrast to the more sketch-like finish to many of Waterhouse's oil studies. In his book on the artist, Trippi compares it to the sketch for the head of a mermaid of around the same date - 'Here the characteristically flushed cheeks and greenish skin tones of the mermaid have been refined with more delicate shadowing and white heightening along the brow'. The present work was kept by Waterhouse and sold at his studio sale in 1926.
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