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A work made of oil on canvas.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.




John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925)

About this artwork

Thistles captures the tangled movement of the windblown plants in light and shadow. Executing this work in rural England (or possibly in Nice, France), John Singer Sargent experimented with broken brushwork and a vibrant palette. The landscape composition is remarkably abstract, with the dynamic patterning of the thistles asserting the flatness of the picture plane more than any sense of depth.

Beginning in 1885, the artist spent more time painting out of doors, exploring the techniques and subjects of Impressionism, inspired by a growing friendship with Claude Monet. Sargent continued painting en plein air throughout his life, a practice that provided needed respite from his busy schedule as an acclaimed portraitist.


On View, Gallery 176


Arts of the Americas


John Singer Sargent




England (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

c. 1883–1889


Oil on canvas


55.9 × 71.8 cm (22 × 28 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Brooks McCormick

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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