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Figures Sitting on a Beach

Not on view

Figures Sitting on a Beach

Artist: Irving R. Wiles (American, 1861 - 1948)

Date: 1883
Medium: Ink on beige, moerately thick, smooth paper
Overall: 6 1/2 x 8 1/4in. (16.5 x 21cm)
Image: 5 5/8 x 5 1/4in. (14.3 x 13.3cm)
Signed: Inscribed, signed and dated lower rt.; French inscription and dimensions are verso.
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object number: 99.28
Label Text
The Utica native Irving Wiles made this drawing about a decade before he began his career as a fashionable early 20th-century portraitist. At the time of his birth, his father, Lemuel M. Wiles (1826-1905), taught drawing in the Utica Public Schools and simultaneously worked as a librarian at the city's public library.
The Wiles family's connections to Utica may have contributed to Maria and Thomas Proctor's decision to commission Irving Wiles to execute the two life-size portraits he painted of them in 1906 and 1908, now in the Museum's collection.

Wiles signed and dated this delightful outdoor sketch of one man and four (or perhaps five) woman holding parasols when he was touring in Europe with his father during the summer of 1883. The younger Wiles had traveled to France the previous fall to continue his artistic training in Paris.

An inscription on the back of the drawing, which reads, "M[onsieur?] Holman," could refer to Wiles's contemporary, the American figure painter Frank Holman (1865-1930), who spent the previous summer with Wiles at Dieppe, on the northern coast of France. The beach at Dieppe is composed of small, rounded chert (flint) rocks. In this sketch, Wiles drew wavy black lines below the figures to suggest the texture of Dieppe's stony coastline. He executed the drawing in pen and ink, a drawing medium he favored.