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From the Helen Clay Frick private collection of works of art there has recently come to the Fogg Museum a loan of some thirty paintings. On account of the number and diversified character, they are exhibited, at least for the present, among the Museum's other pictures. Many of them deserve mention, but the leaders in general interest are three portraits by Romney, Reynolds, and Raeburn.
The Romney portrait is of Mrs. Raikes, who tightly clasps her little girl. The artist has painted her with a real sense of life and of action, conveyed both by her affectionate gesture and her friendly glance. He has grouped the two in one of his own inventive designs, simple and vigorous, and he has suppressed all matters of form and shadow, to intensify it with color, dull red and green and white.
Reynolds shows Lady Cecil Rice, the work painted in 1762, at a time when he was near the peak of his skill. It was only a month before that he had turned out his master portrait, "his perfect Nelly O'Brien." But Lady Rice resembles a very different person, who by the turn and tilt of her head, her sidewise and dreamy look, is distinguished and gentle. Reynolds' subdued colors, the faint blues for her gown, and the gray-greens for the trees and sky, suit her perfectly.
The third portrait is that of an Old Scotchman, seated at ease by his books. Raeburn has put personal character in every line, using strong lights and deep shadows and marked features. Detail work is avoided, except in the treatment of the head and of the books. Brushwork is done in the same manner, in crisp, bold planes. The result is a wise and kindly gentleman, painted with elegance and charm.
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