Three Sisters— A Study in June Sunlight

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Edmund Charles Tarbell (American, 1862–1938)
Three Sisters— A Study in June Sunlight, 1890
Oil on canvas
35 1/8 × 40 1/8 in. (89.22 × 101.92 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Montgomery Sears M1925.1
Photo credit John R. Glembin
Not Currently on View

The subtitle of this first important Impressionist work by Edmund Tarbell is a clear indication of his interest in the new French style just recently introduced in America. The painting’s dappled light, brilliant palette, and short, textured brush strokes caused a sensation when it was exhibited in Tarbell’s hometown of Boston. The transient light and undiluted color create a warm atmosphere in which the figures are more solidly drawn. Posing his wife, her sisters, and his baby daughter in a lovely garden setting, Tarbell did not attempt probing portraits but instead sought to portray an affluent and tranquil way of life. The inclusion of the American colonial chair implies their New England heritage that underlies this seemingly French aesthetic.

This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.