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John Singer Sargent


John Singer Sargent (; January 12, 1856 – April 14, 1925) was an American expatriate artist, considered the "leading portrait painter of his generation" for his evocations of Edwardian-era luxury. He created roughly 900 oil paintings and more than 2,000 watercolors, as well as countless sketches and charcoal drawings. His oeuvre documents worldwide travel, from Venice to the Tyrol, Corfu, Spain, the Middle East, Montana, Maine, and Florida.

Born in Florence to American parents, he was trained in Paris before moving to London, living most of his life in Europe. He enjoyed international acclaim as a portrait painter. An early submission to the Paris Salon in the 1880s, his Portrait of Madame X, was intended to consolidate his position as a society painter in Paris but instead resulted in scandal. During the year following the scandal, Sargent departed for England, where he continued a successful career as a portrait artist.

From the beginning, Sargent's work is characterized by remarkable technical facility, particularly in his ability to draw with a brush, which in later years inspired admiration as well as criticism for its supposed superficiality. His commissioned works were consistent with the grand manner of portraiture, while his informal studies and landscape paintings displayed a familiarity with Impressionism. In later life Sargent expressed ambivalence about the restrictions of formal portrait work and devoted much of his energy to mural painting and working en plein air. Art historians generally ignored society artists such as Sargent until the late 20th century.

The exhibition in the 1980s of Sargent's previously hidden male nudes served to spark a re-evaluation of his life and work, and its psychological complexity. In addition to the beauty, sensation, and innovation of his oeuvre, his same-sex interests, unconventional friendships with women, and engagement with race, gender-nonconformity, and emerging globalism, are now viewed as socially and aesthetically progressive, and radical.

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Information from Wikipedia, made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Accessed February 28, 2024.


Born in Italy to expatriate American parents, Sargent became a highly regarded and prolific portraitist of the late 19th century, working in France, England and the U.S. Under the influence of Carolus-Duran, Sargent undertook a study of the works of Velázquez in Spain, 1879, and Frans Hals in the Netherlands. He was also influenced by the Impressionists, particularly Monet, whom he knew, and often worked in a more experimental manner at odds with his formal portraiture. His most famous portrait, 'Madame X,' caused a scandal at the Salon of 1884, causing him to move from Paris and permanently settle in London, where he painted society portraits to great acclaim. After 1910 he devoted himself to painting landscapes and murals, including commissions for the Boston Public Library and Museum of Fine Arts. Comment on works: Portraits

Country of birth



Artist, architect, landscapist, muralist, owner, painter

ULAN identifier



John Singer Sargent, J. Sargent, J. Singer Sargent, J. s. Sargent, J.S. Sargent, John Singer Sargeant, Sargent, John Sargent, John S. Sargent, John-Singer Sargent, j.s. sargent, john s. sargent, john sargent, js sargent, sargent j.s., sargent john singer

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Information from the Getty Research Institute's Union List of Artist Names ® (ULAN), made available under the ODC Attribution License. Accessed February 28, 2024.

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