Art History


John Singer Sargent: The Charming Portrait Master

January 12th will mark the birthday of renowned painter John Singer Sargent. He was born in Italy, but his parents were American and he lived all over Europe during his lifetime. Most of his training was done in Paris, where he became very popular among the art society and had art featured in the Paris salon. A scandal forced him to leave Paris and return to England but didn’t hinder his success. He was still able to continue producing works at a rapid pace. Often described as shy but determined, Sargent created portraits that were luxurious and dramatic.

Sargent was considered one of the leading portrait artists during his time and earned a great deal of fame doing commissions for the Paris elite. When he would work on a commissioned piece, Sargent often would go to the persons home to help select the background, as well as make suggestions on their clothing and posing. Sargent was even able to choose which commissions to accept and set very high prices for his work, which many artists at the time were unable to do. Former president Theodore Roosevelt was just one of the numerous celebrities of the time to be painted by Sargent. He was able to sustain a profitable career in painting for over twenty-five years.

Early in his career he became well-known for his full length portraits of women such as Portrait of Madame X and Lady Agnew of Lochnaw. He enjoyed making use of a Plein Air style when he could, like in Two Women Asleep in a Punt and An Out-of Doors Study. Some of his work also showed a flair for the dramatic, like El Jaleo. His body of works also include some landscapes, done later in his career that he painted for his own enjoyment, such as Poppies and Venetian Canal, Palazzo.

Please feel free to browse our gallery of John Singer Sargent’s work and find the perfect piece to hang in your home. We feel confident that we have selected only the finest pieces from his vast collection, but are varied enough to meet any taste. Bring some of his charm into your life and your will be dazzled by his work.

About the Author

Amanda graduated from the University of Kansas, where she studied English literature and got a masters degree in library sciences. She enjoys reading, cooking and playing with her nephews. Her best friend is her little dog Brady.