Mosquito Nets is a beautiful example of Sargent’s ability to translate a momentary impression into a masterful composition. The picture represents the artist’s sister Emily with her friend Eliza Wedgwood, a member of the famous porcelain manufacturing family. It was painted in Valdemosa, Majorca, where the three were spending an autumn holiday. There, in Eliza’s words, “Sargent painted in oils such an amusing picture of Emily and me—in what John called ‘Garde Mangers,’ Emily’s invention for keeping out mosquitoes.” In this intimate and affectionate view, we see the women close-up and at a diagonal angle, reminiscent of “snapshot” views used by Cassatt and Degas. Emily is seated in an armchair and rests against one of the red pillows from the sofa beside her; Eliza is reclining on the sofa.
Artist John Singer Sargent, American, 1856-1925
  • Mosquito Nets
Date 1908
Medium oil on canvas
Dimensions Unframed: 22 1/2 × 28 1/4 inches (57.2 × 71.8 cm)
Framed: 36 1/4 inches × 42 1/4 inches × 3 inches (92.1 × 107.3 × 7.6 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase, Robert H. Tannahill Foundation Fund, General Membership Fund, Gibbs-Williams Fund, Laura H. Murphy Fund, Dexter M. Ferry Jr. Fund, Elizabeth P. Kirby Fund, Elizabeth and Allen Shelden Fund, Merill Fund; gifts from Charles Willis Ward, Mrs. Gustavus D. Pope, Kate Minor, Newhouse Galleries, Miss Julia E.Peck, Detroit and Wayne County Tuberculosis Foundation, Anonymous Donor, Paul H. Townsend, Mrs. John L. Gardner, City of Detroit, Elizabeth Hughes Gossett, Mrs. George Kamperman, Mrs. Theodore Chapin Beebe, Recess Club, Mrs. Benjamin Goldberg, Mr. and Mrs. James O. Keene, Mrs. Mathias J. Alten, Mrs. Arthur McGraw, Mrs. E. Murray McKay, Mr. David Gray, Percy K. Loud, Mrs. William T. Barbour, Lawrence A. Fleischman, Mrs. Henry Gallison, Lillian Henkel Haass, Archives of American Art, Mr. Phillip Gray, Mrs. William R. Kales, Mr. and Mrs Harold O. Love, Mrs. George Hendrie, Mrs. Walter Shirlaw, Harrington Fitzgerald, Mrs. Lendall Pitts, Walter Piper, Gilbert M. Frimet, Colonel Frank J. Hecker, Mr. and Mrs. Edgar B. Whitcomb, Mrs. Mary B. Longyear, Edgar P. Richardson, John S. Newberry, Miss Florence Babbit, Margaret C. Horn, Armand H. Griffith, Mrs. William E. Scripps, Anne Goldthwaite, Miss Euphemia Holden, and Mr. and Mrs. James S. Holden by exchange.
Accession Number 1993.18
Department American Art before 1950
On View American W292, Level 2 (see map)
John Singer Sargent;
to sister Emily Sargent until 1936;
Emily Sargent to sister Violet (Mrs. Francis Ormond) until ca. 1948;
Violet to son Henri Eric Conrad Ormond until 1979;
Henri Eric Conrad to his son, John Ormond, until ca. 1993;
to Coe Kerr Gallery, New York;
to DIA in 1993.
Mount, Charles Merrill. John Singer Sargent: A Bibliography. New York, 1955, no. K0811, pp. 449, 473.

McKibbin, David. Sargent's Boston. Exh. cat., the Museum of Fine Arts. Boston, 1956, p. 122.

Mount, Charles Merrill. John Singer Sargent: A Biography. London, 1957, p. 359, no. K0811.

Ormond, Richard. John Singer Sargent: Paintings, Drawings, Watercolors. New York, 1970, pp. 76, 254, pl. 101 (ill.).

Sone, Richard. The Century of Change: British Painting since 1909. New York, 1977, pl. 26 (ill.).

Lomax, James and Richard Ormond. John Singer Sargent And The Edwardian Age. Exh. cat., Leeds Art Galleries. London, 1979, p. 102 (ill.).

Radcliff, Carter. John Singer Sargent. New York, 1982, p. 33, fig. 40.

Ormond, Richard. "A Note on John Singer Sargent's Mosquito Nets." Bulletin of the DIA 569, nos. 1-2 (1985): 5-13; (color ill.).

Adelson, Warren, Stanley Olson and Richard Ormond. Sargent At Broadway: The Impressionist Years. Exh. cat., the Universe/Coe Kerry Gallery. New York, 1986, pp. 43-44, 61, 118, 128-29; ill. plate 33 (color).

Ruskin, Judith A., ed. "Acquisitions." Bulletin of the DIA 68, no. 1/2 (1993): 10; color ill. p. 6.

"John Singer Sargent: Mosquito Nets." American Art Review (February-March 1994): 86, 155.

"New on View: The Detroit Institute of Arts." Detroit Monthly, April 1994, 12 (ill.).

Henshaw, Julia, ed. The Detroit Institute of Arts: A Visitor's Guide. Detroit, 1995, p. 79 (ill.).

Henshaw, Julia, ed. "Other Activities and Events." Bulletin of the DIA 69, no. 3/4 (1995): 17.

Adelson, Warren, Donna Janis, Elaine Kilmurray, Richard Ormond and Elizabeth Oustinoff. Sargent Abroad: Figures and Landscapes. New York, 1997, pp. 43-44, 61, 118, 128-29.

Kilmurray, Elaine and Ormond, Richard, eds. John Singer Sargent. Exh. cat., Tate Gallery. London, 1998, pp. 252, 254 (color ill.).

Hedstrom, Per. John Singer Sargent. Exh. cat., National Museum. Stockholm, 2018, pp. 44-45 (color ill.).