John Singer Sargent – American 1856-1925

John Singer Sargent
Self Portrait
John Singer Sargent was an American painter by birth-right. He loved his country yet he spent most of his life in Europe. He was the most celebrated portraitist of his time but left it at the very height of his fame to devote full time to landscape painting, watercolors and public art.

He was born in Florence, to American parents and traveled extensively throughout Europe. His parents never settled back in America, not stepping foot in the States himself until right before his 21st birthday to retain his citizenship.

He was schooled as a French artist, heavily influenced by the Impressionist movement, the Spanish Master Velazquez, the Dutch Master Frans Hals, and his teacher Carolus-Duran . He was the darling of Paris until the scandal of his Madame X painting at the 1884 Salon. Discouraged at the rejection, even considered leaving art at the age of 28, he left Paris and settled (if that word could ever be used for him) in England where he reached the height of his fame. To be painted by Sargent was to be painted by the best.

Although England would be his home, he never stopped traveling and he never stopped painting. To describe Sargent is to say that he painted. It was his life and yet he had a deep appreciation for music and all art forms and went out of his way to promote other artists—for this selflessness he was greatly loved.

Extremely bright, extremely gifted, an intense hard worker, he was the last great generalist. It is hard to put a label on him for he could master so many different painting styles. He was an Impressionist, a Classical Portraitist, a Landscape Artist, a Water Colorist, a Muralist of public art, and even started sculpting at the last of his life. He was all of these things and yet he was none of them in total.

John Singer Sargent
He is often passed by, not studied, or dismissed because he was never a radical artist or trend-setter. He always worked within the wide, rich textured pallet of known and established styles. Yet his brilliance was in fusing these elements together and for this he has never fully gotten credit.

His output was prodigious. Working dawn til dusk in some cases—even on vacations, and sometimes seven days a week. Between 1877 (when his work really started taking off) and 1925, he did over 900 oils and more than 2,000 watercolors along with countless charcoal sketch-portraits and endless pencil drawings.

He painted two United States presidents, the aristocracy of Europe, the new and emerging tycoons and barons of business—Rockefeller, Sears, Vanderbilt; and he painted gypsies, tramps, and street children with the same gusto and passion. He hiked through the Rocky Mountains with a canvas tent under pouring rain to paint the beauty of waterfalls, and painted near the front lines during World War I to capture the horrors of war. He painted the back alleys of Venice, sleeping gondoliers, fishing boats and the dusty side streets of Spain. He painted opulent interiors and vacant Moorish Ruins. He painted the artists of his time—performers, poets, dancers, musicians, and writers—Robert Louis Stevenson, and Henry James. He painted the great generals of the Great War, and the Bedouin nomads in their camps. He painted grand allegorical murals, and his friends as they slept.

NOTE: You'll notice many Sargent books are by Richard Ormond. He is Sargent's grand-nephew.


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John Singer Sargent (Best of) by Evan Charteris (Author) – Hardcover: 200 pages; Publisher: Parkstone Press (July 1, 2016)

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) was born in Florence. His paintings carry the mark of his privileged upbringing; the influence of Florence, the struggle between nature and culture – from rolling landscapes to galleries filled with masterpieces – as well as the constant opportunity to partake in intellectual and artistic discussions all played an important role in his training and therefore in his art. Sargent was an American but many considered him a citizen of the world. At the exception of a few visits back to his native country, he spent the majority of his life abroad and was particularly influenced by European art. However, his American roots remain visible in his art, most notably in his extraordinary talent for capturing emotions, as well as in his personality, and in the delicacy of his technique; qualities which to this day still characterise the great American artists

John Singer Sargent: Figures and Landscapes, 1883-1899: The Complete Paintings, Volume V by Richard Ormond (Author), Elaine Kilmurray (Author) – Hardcover: 392 pages; Publisher: Paul Mellon Centre BA (November 18, 2010)

The fifth volume of the John Singer Sargent catalogue raisonné encompasses a remarkably productive span in the beloved American painter’s life. The young artist moved from Paris to London during this period and successfully ignited his career as a portraitist, and this time also marked his experimentation with Impressionist techniques.

These pages contain the first detailed account of Sargent’s relationship with Claude Monet, including letters—most published for the first time here—from the artist to the great Impressionist. This exquisitely illustrated volume also covers the period when Sargent journeyed to Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Spain, North Africa, and Italy in search of inspiration for a mural cycle commissioned by the Boston Public Library. The works he painted as source material included here stand in stark contrast to the sensuous, painterly exercises of the early and mid-1880s, underlining his versatility and artistic reach.

John Singer Sargent: Painting Friends by Barbara Gallati - Paperback: 96 pages; Publisher: Skira Rizzoli (March 10, 2015)

An affordably priced companion to the exhibition catalog Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends. An ideal introduction to the work of this popular American artist, John Singer Sargent: Painting Friends features a selection of forty of the artist’s portraits of his close circle, including artists, writers, actors, and musicians.

Americans in Florence: Sargent and the American Impressionists 2 by Francesca Bardazzi, Carlo Sisi – Hardcover: 288 pages; Publisher: Marsilio; y First printing edition (May 15, 2012)

The relationship American impressionists had with Italy, and with Florence in particular, became very intense in the decades spanning the close of the nineteenth and dawn of the twentieth centuries. Florence, Venice and Rome had been at the heart of the Grand Tour for centuries and had become legendary for all those eager to study the art of the past.

Sargent's Daughters: The Biography of a Painting by Erica E. Hirshler - Hardcover: 262 pages; Publisher: MFA Publications; 1st edition (October 31, 2009) Best Seller

Erica E. Hirshler excavates all facets of this iconic canvas, discussing not only its significance as a work of art but also the figures and events involved in its making, its importance for Sargent's career, its place in the tradition of artistic patronage and the myriad factors that have contributed to its lasting popularity and relevance. The result is an aesthetic, philosophical and personal tour de force that will change the way you look at Sargent's work, and that both illuminates an iconic painting and reaffirms its pungent magnetism.

John Singer Sargent: Figures and Landscapes, 1874-1882; Complete Paintings: Volume IV (Complete Paintings) by Richard Ormond, Elaine Kilmurray, Warren Adelson – Hardcover: 420 pages Paul Mellon Center BA (October 23, 2006) Best Seller

From 1874 to 1882, John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) produced more than 200 paintings and watercolors aside from portraiture, including figures in landscape settings, architectural studies, seascapes, subject paintings, and studies after old masters. From powerful studies of models in Paris in the mid-1870s to compelling paintings set in Venice in the early 1880s, the works published in this volume of the catalogue raisonné show the variety of his aesthetic responses. He worked in the studio and en plein air, travelling widely during the eight years covered in this volume and painting in Paris, Brittany, Capri, Spain, North Africa, and Venice.

This is the first time that Sargent’s early work has been mapped so comprehensively. With very few exceptions, this beautifully produced book illustrates all the pictures under discussion in color. Each painting, including several which have never been published before, is documented in depth with full provenance, exhibition history, and bibliography, and in many cases new information is provided. The volume also reproduces a wealth of Sargent’s preliminary and related drawings and of comparative works by other artists.

John Singer Sargent: The Early Portraits (The Complete Paintings, Vol 1) by Richard Ormond, Elaine Kilmurray, John Singer Sargent – Hardcover, 256 pages, Yale Univ Press, 1998 Best Seller

This first volume of a definitive collection of the works in oil, watercolor, and pastel of beloved painter John Singer Sargent catalogs his portraits from 1874 to 1887. Volume two will include portraits painted from 1890 until the end of the artist's career. The entire collection will bring together nearly 600 portraits and some 1,600 subject pictures, landscapes, and three mural cycles. This volume features 180 color and 80 b&w illustrations.

Sargent Portrait Drawings: 42 Works by John S. Sargent – Paperback, Published by Dover Pubns, 1983 Best Seller

Collection of portraits, selected from public and private holdings by art historian Trevor J. Fairbrother, reveal the technical skill and intuitive eye for which American portrait painter John Singer Sargent is renowned. Drawings in pencil, pastels and charcoal—a lesser-known aspect of Sargent’s oeuvre—are shown. List of Plates. Introduction. Captions.

Americans in Paris 1860-1900 (National Gallery Company) by Kathleen Adler, Erica E. Hirshler, H. Barbara Weinberg Hardcover: 288 pages Publisher: National Gallery London (March 28, 2006)

As the center of the art world in the late nineteenth century, Paris was a magnet for American art students and artists. They flocked to the studios of French artists like Jean-Léon Gérôme, William Bouguereau, and others, dreamed of showing their work at the annual Paris Salon, and watched intently as new styles such as Impressionism began to take hold. Hardly an American painter was unaffected by developments in Paris, and even those who chose not to study there wanted their work to be affirmed by French audiences and taste makers.

This beautifully illustrated book traces the role of American artists in Paris from the Salon des Refusés, in 1863, to the emergence of a uniquely American style of painting at the turn of the century. It includes iconic images by John Singer Sargent, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Mary Cassatt, and Winslow Homer, and by many other artists whose names and work were more widely known then than now.

Great Expectations: John Singer Sargent Painting Children by Hirshler, Ormond, Barbara Dayer Gallati – Hardcover: 256 pages Publisher: Bulfinch (October 1, 2004)

Sargents reputation is often defined by his remarkable achievements as a painter of sophisticated society portraits. However, as this innovative examination of his career reveals, he created a significant number of childrens portraits and genre paintings featuring children.

The title of the book makes ironic reference to Charles Dickenss famous novel Great Expectations, and is used here to suggest how Sargents paintings of children related to the expectations associated with representations of childhood in the art and literature of Sargents day. The book also traces how Sargent ultimately advanced childhood as an artistic subject.

The book contains five essays by three notable curators and professors of fine arts, is illustrated with Sargents truly stunning and often lesser-known paintings of children, and includes Sargent family photographs, some of which are previously unpublished.

Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X by Deborah Davis Hardcover: 320 pages Publisher: Tarcher (July 24, 2003) Best Seller

The story behind the legendary John Singer Sargent painting that propelled the artist to international renown but condemned his subject to a life of public ridicule.

John Singer Sargent's Madame X is one of the world's best-known portraits. As the Metropolitan's most frequently requested painting for loans, it travels to museums around the globe. The image of "Madame X" decorates book and magazine covers, greeting cards and screen savers. She's even been immortalized as a Madame Alexander doll.

Few people, though, know the fascinating story behind the painting. "Madame X" was actually a twenty-three-year-old New Orleans Creole, Virginie Gautreau, who moved to Paris and quickly became the "it girl" of her day. All the leading artists wanted to paint her, but it was Sargent, a relative nobody, who won the commission. Gautreau and Sargent must have recognized in each other a like-minded hunger for fame.

Unveiled at the 1884 Paris Salon, Gautreau's portrait did generate the attention she craved-but it led to infamy rather than stardom. Sargent had painted one strap of Gautreau's dress dangling from her shoulder, suggesting, to outraged Parisian viewers, either the prelude or the aftermath of sex. Her reputation irreparably damaged, Gautreau retired from public life, destroying all the mirrors in her home so she would never have to look at herself again.

Why had Sargent chosen to portray her in such a provoc-ative manner? Was the painting, with the scandal it generated, the machination of a sexually conflicted man who desired a woman and a lifestyle he could never possess? Drawing on documents from private collections and other previously unexamined materials and featuring a cast of characters including Oscar Wilde and Richard Wagner, Strapless is an enthralling tale of art and celebrity, obsession and betrayal.

John Singer Sargent: Portraits of the 1890s by Richard Ormond, Elaine Kilmurray, John Singer Sargent – Hardcover: 256 pages Publisher: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (November 1, 2002)

This gorgeous book is the second volume of the definitive catalogue raisonné of the work of the American painter John Singer Sargent (1856-1925). It comprises over onehundred and fifty formal portraits and portrait sketches in oil and watercolor that he painted between 1889 and 1900. The catalogued works have been grouped into chronological sections, each with its own introduction to set the particular group in context. In addition, an overall introduction places Sargent in the context of European portraiture of the past and of his own time.

Each work is documented in depth: entries include traditional data about the painting or watercolor; details of the work's provenance, exhibition history and bibliography; a short biography of the sitter; a discussion of the circumstances in which the work was created; and a critical discussion of its subject matter, style, and significance in Sargent's career. With very few exceptions, all the works are reproduced in color. There is also an illustrated inventory of Sargent's studio props and accessories and a cross-referenced checklist of the portraits in which they appear.

Sargent: Painting Out-Of-Doors by John Esten – Hardcover, 80 pages (May 2000) Universe Pub

John Esten has assembled a stunning collection of drawings, paintings, and watercolors by Sargent-many of them rarely seen-of the friends and family that accompanied him on these holiday excursions.

John Singer Sargent: The Sensualist by Trevor J. Fairbrother, John Singer Sargent Hardcover, 176 pages (December 2000) Yale Univ Press

In this beautiful book, Trevor Fairbrother argues that viewing John Singer Sargent as a sensualist connects otherwise conflicting elements of his oeuvre and offers a new interpretation of his life and work. The book is lavishly illustrated with examples of the artist's oils, watercolors, and sketches, and it includes a little-known series of expressive charcoal drawings of male nudes, here published together in color for the first time. Published in association with the Seattle Art Museum.

John Singer Sargent by Carter Ratcliff – Hardcover, 256 pages, Artabras, 1998

An examination of John Singer Sargent's enduring popularity and the beautiful results of his life-long devotion to art. Over 300 illustrations, 113 in full-color. 11" x 13".

John Singer Sargent: The Male Nudes by John Singer Sargent, John Esten, National Gallery of Art(U.S.), Donna Hassler – Hardcover, 96 pages (May 1999) Universe Pub

Published on occasion of the major Sargent retrospective traveling to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 1999, John Singer Sargent: The Male Nudes brings to light a fascinating portion of Sargent's work long hidden from the public eye.

Beginning in his adolescence, and throughout his distinguished career, John Singer Sargent, the celebrated painter of patricians, produced a superbly rendered, uninhibited book of work that was rarely seen and never exhibited: the male nudes. Models were a significant aspect of the great painter's profession, whether they were commission-producing society "sitters" or professional models used as reference for his three Boston mural projects or works created for his private enjoyment--one young Italian model stayed in the artist's employ for nearly twenty-six years. Sargent's enduring subject was capturing the "human form divine" in portraits of the fashionable and famous and the absolute male.

Sargent: The Late Landscapes by Hilliard T. Goldfarb, Erica E. Hirshler, T. J. Jackson Lears – Paperback, 128 pages (May 1999) Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum


Sargent by Elaine Kilmurray, Richard Ormond – Hardcover, 288 pages Princeton Univ Press, December, 1998

The remarkable portraits for which John Singer Sargent is most famous are only one aspect of a career that included landscapes, watercolors, figure subjects, and murals. Even within portraiture, his style ranged from bold experiments to studied formality. And the subjects of his paintings were as varied as his styles, including the leaders of fashionable society, rural laborers, city streets, remote mountains, and the front lines of World War I. This beautiful book surveys and evaluates the extraordinary range of Sargent's work, and reproduces 150 of his paintings in color. It accompanies a spectacular international exhibition--the first major retrospective of the artist's career since the memorial exhibitions that followed his death.

Uncanny Spectacle: The Public Career of the Young John Singer Sargent by Marc Simpson, Richard Ormond, H. Barbara Weinberg, John Singer Sargent – Hardcover, 240 pages, Published by Yale University Press, 1997


Uncanny Spectacle: The Public Career of the Young John Singer Sargent by Marc Simpson, Richard Ormond, H. Barbara Weinberg, John Singer Sargent – Paperback, 240 pages, Published by Yale University Press, 1997

By the time John Singer Sargent turned thirty in 1886, he already commanded an international reputation in the art world, creating a stream of works for exhibition that people eagerly awaited and discussed at length. Henry James noted that Sargent`s talent offered "the slightly `uncanny` spectacle" of an artist on the threshold of his career who in fact had nothing more to learn. This book explores how the young American painter in just over a decade jumped from apprenticeship to wide acclaim, how he presented himself and his works, and how he sought to shape public perception of his talent.

The Age of Elegance by John Singer Sargent – Paperback, 160 pages, Pocket edition Phaidon Press Inc, 1996

This book shows how John Singer Sargent's stylish paintings of elegant ladies and sophisticated gentlemen reflect the charm, opulence, and assurance of the late Victorian and Edwardian eras. Quotations form Sargent's friend and mentor Henry James, capture the place of the American ex-patriot in European society of that period.

Sargent Watercolors by Donelson F. Hoopes Reissue Edition – Paperback, Published by Watson-Guptill Pubns, September 1984


John Singer Sargent by Patricia Hills – Hardcover, Published by Harry N. Abrams, 1986

A lavishly illustrated group of scholarly essays published by the Whitney Museum as the catalog of the retrospective of this 19th-century Euro-American society painter. Hills contributes three fine studies on Sargent's style and sensibility, the late subject pictures, and draftsmanship. Other specialists cover Sargent in Venice, in Paris and London, his Impressionism, the late portraits, and the watercolors. Stanley Olson's contribution on Sargent's family is the most outstanding. Olson remarks that at his birth the artist received "his mother's well-thumbed Baedeker , and not a silver spoon, for he began his life as he ended itas a tourist." Highly recommended as a complement to Carter Ratcliff's John Singer Sargent (Abbeville Pr., 1982). —Mary Hamel-Schwulst, Art Department, Goucher College, Towson, Md. Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Whistler, Sargent, and Steer: Impressionists in London from Tate Collections by Tate Britain (Gallery), David Fraser Jenkins, Avis Berman, Tenn.) Frist Center for the Visual Arts

Arriving at their mature styles independently of one another, the renowned American expatriate painters James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent and the British artist Philip Wilson Steer are often credited with bringing modern art to London near the end of the 19th century. Inspired by the lively brushwork of painters from Velázquez to Monet, each of these artists developed a distinctive approach to Impressionism, utilizing spontaneously applied strokes of paint and closely modulated colors to caputre the effects of light as it played across the fingure and landscape.

John Sargent by Evan Charteris – Unknown Binding: 308 pages Publisher: C. Scribner's Sons (1927)

Over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. xii + 308 p. + 50 plates. With chronological checklist of works in oil.

The Work of John S. Sargent R.A. With an Introductory Note By Mrs. Meynell by John Singer; with an Introductory Note By Mrs. Meynell Sargent (Author) – Hardcover Publisher: William Heinemann (1903)


Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends by Richard Ormond (Author), Elaine Kilmurray (Author), Trevor Fairbrother (Contributor), Barbara Dayer Gallati (Contributor), Erica Hirshler (Contributor) - Hardcover: 256 pages; Publisher: Skira Rizzoli (March 10, 2015) Best Seller

This unprecedented book showcases Sargent’s cosmopolitan career in a new light—through his bold portraits of artists, writers, actors, and musicians, many of them his close friends—giving us a picture of the artist as an intellectual and connoisseur of the music, art, and literature of his day.

John Singer Sargent: Figures and Landscapes 1908–1913: The Complete Paintings, Volume VIII by Richard Ormond (Author), Elaine Kilmurray (Author) - Hardcover: 424 pages; Publisher: Paul Mellon Centre for British Art (October 7, 2014) Best Seller

After John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) determined to curtail his internationally successful portrait practice, he had more freedom to paint where and what he wanted. Volume VIII of the John Singer Sargent catalogue raisonné transports us to the artist’s most beloved locations, often with his friends and family.

John Singer Sargent: Watercolors by Erica Hirshler, Teresa Carbone, Richard Ormond, John Sargent (Artist) - Hardcover: 252 pages; Publisher: MFA Publications/Brooklyn Museum (April 30, 2013)

John Singer Sargent's approach to watercolor was unconventional. Going beyond turn-of-the-century standards for carefully delineated and composed landscapes filled with transparent washes, his confidently bold, dense strokes and loosely defined forms startled critics and fellow practitioners alike. One reviewer of an exhibition in London proclaimed him "an eagle in a dove-cote"; another called his work "swagger" watercolors.

Sargent and the Sea by Sarah Cash, Richard Ormond - Hardcover: 192 pages; Publisher: Yale University Press; First Edition edition (October 27, 2009) Best Seller

As a young man the American painter John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) was passionate about the sea and deeply knowledgeable about ships and seafaring. Between the ages of 18 and 23 he started his career as a professional painter with a remarkable range of maritime works that form the subject of this exhibition and book.

A Touch of Blossom: John Singer Sargent and the Queer Flora of Fin-de-Siècle Art by Alison Syme – Hardcover: 340 pages; Publisher: Penn State University Press; First Edition edition (October 8, 2010)

Assembling evidence from diverse realms—visual culture (cartoons, greeting cards, costume design), medicine and botany (treatises and their illustrations), literature, letters, lexicography, and the visual arts—this book situates the metaphors that structure Sargent’s paintings in a broad cultural context. It offers in-depth readings of particular paintings and analyzes related projects undertaken by Sargent’s friends in the field of painting and in other disciplines, such as gynecology and literature.

Sargent's Venice by Richard Ormond, Warren Adelson Hardcover Publisher: Yale University Press; 1st edition (January 19, 2007)

John Singer Sargent returned to Venice many times during his life, endlessly fascinated with this enchanting city. In paintings filled with vivid colors and dazzling light, he sought to capture its vitality and unique ambience, often working while afloat in a gondola. This gorgeously illustrated book presents nearly seventy of Sargent’s oil and watercolor paintings of Venice, many of them famous but others only rarely seen. The book also contains fascinating new photographs of actual sites depicted in Sargent’s paintings.

Children of the Gilded Era: Portraits of Sargent, Renoir, Cassatt and Their Contemporaries by Barbara Dayer Gallati – Hardcover: 96 pages Publisher: Merrell Holberton (October 1, 2004)

Reader review: As many know, American painter John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925) was not only a gifted landscape artist but was also recognized as the outstanding society portraitist of his day. One often thinks of him in connection with his painting of Madame X and the scandal that ensued. However, we are reminded of a much different Sargent when we view his portraits of children, so innocent, so appealing.

Sargent's Women by Adeslon Warren – Paperback: 152 pages Publisher: Frances Lincoln (January 1, 2004)

Sargent's Women reveals a new perspective on the early career of John Singer Sargent by exploring his unique artistic approach and the relationships he developed with the exceptional women in his life. From 1878 to 1890, the artist was strongly attracted to distinctive women and exotic subjects. Inspired by the revelation of a recently solved mystery as to the identity of a woman named Amelie Gautreau, Warren Adelson, president of Adelson Galleries, decided to mount Sargent's Women as a way of examining the relationships that Sargent cultivated with the many extraordinary women in his life.

John Singer Sargent: The Later Portraits by Richard Ormond, Elaine Kilmurray, John Singer Sargent – Hardcover: 368 pages Publisher: Yale University Press (October 1, 2003)

This sumptuous book is the third volume of the definitive catalogue raisonné of the work of the American painter John Singer Sargent (1856-1925). Comprising over two hundred portraits and portrait sketches in oil and watercolor painted between 1900 and the artist's death in 1925, this book completes the trilogy of portrait volumes. The catalogued works have been grouped into two chronological sections, each with an introduction that sets the particular group in context. There is also a section of undated portraits and an appendix listing previously unrecorded works. Each work is documented in depth: entries include traditional data about the painting or watercolor; details of the work's provenance, exhibition history, and bibliography; a short biography of the sitter; a discussion of the circumstances in which the work was created; and a critical discussion of its subject matter, style, and significance in Sargent's career. Most of the works are reproduced in color. There is also an illustrated inventory of Sargent's studio props and accessories and a cross-referenced checklist of the portraits in which they appear.

John Singer Sargent: The Life of an Artist (Artist Biographies) by Eshel Kreiter, Marc Zabludoff, John Singer Sargent – Reading level: Ages 4-8 Library Binding: 48 pages Publisher: Enslow Elementary (December 2002)

Gr. 2-4. Books in the Artist Biographies series spotlight the lives and works of significant artists. The use of full color, good paper, large type, and uncluttered design results in books that offer several excellent reproductions of artworks, and the relatively simple texts respect the capabilities of a young audience. Sargent introduces the American painter who became the premier portrait artist of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century, though he esteemed his mural work more. The chapter on Sargent's portrait of Virginie Gautreau (the picture later renamed Madame X) provides an interesting focus on the making of one painting and how the response to it affected the artist's life. O'Keeffe discusses the individualistic life and career of one of the great women artists of the twentieth century. Most of the reproductions of her paintings are, unfortunately, rather small, lessening their impact, though the text is pithy and informative. Each book closes with a time line, a glossary, and an annotated list of Web sites featuring the artist's works. —Carolyn Phelan Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

John Singer Sargent by Edmund Swinglehurst – Hardcover, 144 pages (August 1, 2001) Thunder Bay Press

Never has an artist been more exalted or vilified throughout his career and afterwards. John Singer Sargent was best known for his remarkable portraits, mostly high-society commissions, which many of his critics hailed as mere "art applied to social requirement and social ambition." However, no one can deny the opulence with which he portrayed his wealthy patrons, nor the luminosity of his other subject matter, be it foreign landscapes, people or architecture.

John Singer Sargent: His Portrait by Stanley Olson - Paperback: 310 pages; Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (January 18, 2001)

Like a suave butler polishing the egos of his wealthy patrons and sitters, Sargent turned out 700 portraits varying greatly in quality, notes Olson. Tired of the tedium of portraiture, he longed to do still lifes and outdoor scenes but got sidetracked into painting huge, mediocre murals that mischanneled his talents. This startling, unconventional view of the chronicler of the Edwardian Age emerges from Olson's richly detailed, thoroughly researched biography. The son of a willful, hypochondriac mother and a taciturn, pessimistic father, Sargent became a workaholic, an outsider, a born observer eager for fame but let down by it. Henry James cleared a path for Sargent to settle in London when he tired of Paris, and the painter's friend Monet taught him to work outdoors on a "floating studio," but through it all Sargent remained strangely elusive, a loner, unfulfilled in his role. Olson (Elinor Wylie: A Life Apart follows Sargent on his jaunts to Morocco and Venice and shows how a short burst of communal life in the Cotswolds art colony pushed him closer to arch-heretic Whistler. Photos. —Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

John Singer Sargent: Outside the Frame (2000) Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
VHS Release Date: June 16, 2000
Run Time: 57 minutes


American Drawings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art Volume 3: John Singer Sargent by Stephanie L. Herdrich, H. Barbara Weinberg, Marjorie Shelley – Hardcover, 512 pages (August 2000) Yale Univ Press

An expatriate American living in England, John Singer Sargent was an immensely gifted artist and
the leading international portraitist of his day. He produced his magnificent oil paintings of the
social elite after lengthy preparations that included numerous studies and sketches. American Drawings and Watercolors in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: John Singer Sargent presents the Met's collection of four sketchbooks and 337 single sheets by Sargent, from rough to highly finished designs. Many of the watercolors and a handful of the drawings are brilliant, but they are lesser works than the great paintings; this book is an important art-historical study rather than an art book.

Painting Religion in Public: John Singer Sargent's Triumph of Religion at the Boston Public Library by Sally M. Promey – Hardcover, 376 pages (July 6, 1999) Princeton Univ Press

A brilliant painter of society portraits, John Singer Sargent also devoted many years at the height of his career to a project of an entirely different order: an ambitious, multi-media decoration titled Triumph of Religion (1890-1919) for the Boston Public Library. The library cycle Sargent imagined as his most important work, however, would ultimately remain unfinished, quietly abandoned in the face of religious opposition, one critical painting short of completion. Truncation dramatically altered possible readings of Triumph, redirecting its narrative energies and generating new meanings in tension with the idea Sargent had proposed. In Painting Religion in Public, Sally Promey tells the story of an artist of international stature and the complex and consuming pictorial program he pursued in Boston. Highly celebrated in its day, with individual panels retaining immense popularity even in the years of discord, this artistic project and its constituent images tell us much about broad cultural and political exchanges concerning the public representation of religious content in the United States.

Sargent's library decoration attracted the attention of multiple audiences and engaged concurrent debates about class, race, art, and religion. Representatives of various religious and cultural backgrounds hailed portions of the cycle as indicative of the strength of their own positions, and reproductions of the images appeared in everything from books and encyclopedias to stained glass and public pageantry. Promey analyzes the conception and production of the cycle, persuasively demonstrating that Triumph of Religion, far from promoting a narrowly sectarian version of religious practice, represented instead Sargent's public recommendation of the privacy of modern belief. The artist recast contemporary religion as spirituality, she argues, linking it not with institutions and dogma but with personal subjectivity. For Sargent, this ideal was a sign of Western, especially American, progress. Carefully reconstructing patterns of reception in an increasingly diverse religious climate, and exploring the extent and character of Sargent's personal and artistic investment, Promey boldly illuminates the work Sargent hoped to make his masterpiece. At the same time, she enriches understanding of religious images in public places and popular imagination.

Interpreting Sargent by Elizabeth Prettejohn, Elizabeth Prettejohn – Paperback, 80 pages (January 1999) Stewart Tabori & Chang

Reader review (1999): This wonderful paperback is a great buy for anyone who attended the National Gallery exhibit in Washington D.C. recently. The quality of the prints do a great job of capturing the beauty of Sargeant's work. The text is somewhat "high brow" for the layperson, but gives an interesting perspective regarding the works included in the exhibition. The book is an excellent way to remember the exhibit without spending a lot of money on a coffee-table type of book.

The Watercolors of John Singer Sargent by Carl Little, John Singer Sargent, Arnold Skolnick (Editor) – Hardcover, 160 pages (March 1999) Univ California Press

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) stands among the greatest of watercolor painters, along with J.M.W. Turner, Winslow Homer, and other masters of this difficult medium. Watercolor was more than a distraction from the portrait and mural commissions Sargent labored over; after 1900, watercolor became central to his artistic vision. His aquarelles are, simply stated, masterworks. Portraits, interiors, landscapes, architectural studiesSargent's work in watercolor offers a great variety of subject matter, ranging from Arab gypsies to World War I soldiers, to masterful depictions of Venetian churches, to Florida swamp alligators. Sargent carried his watercolors on his travels; They were ideally suited to capturing the scene, the light, the air, wherever he found himself. This book serves as a record of his travels, featuring the paintings he produced in Palestine, Northern Africa, the Canadian Rockies, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, and Greece. Among specific locales were the islands of Majorca and Corfu; Florence, Venice, Carrara, Lake Garda, and Rome; the Alps; Lake O'Hara; the coast of Maine and the Miami River. Sargent's bold and often experimental use of the medium, which sometimes led to semi-abstract images, compels admiration among contemporary painters as well as museum goers today. In addition to placing Sargent's accomplishments in the context of his life and time, Carl Little discusses the artist's extraordinary watercolor technique.

Sargent by Elaine Kilmurray, Richard Ormond – Hardcover Publisher: Tate Gallery Publishing Ltd (October, 1998)


John Singer Sargent by Kate F. Jennings, John Singer Sargent – Paperback, 112 pages, Knickerbocker Press, 1998

The remarkable portraits for which John Singer Sargent is most famous are only one aspect of a career that included landscapes, watercolors, figure subjects, and murals. Even within portraiture, his style ranged from bold experiments to studied formality. And the subjects of his paintings were as varied as his styles, including the leaders of fashionable society, rural laborers, city streets, remote mountains, and the front lines of World War I. This beautiful book surveys and evaluates the extraordinary range of Sargent's work, and reproduces 150 of his paintings in color. It accompanies a spectacular international exhibition—the first major retrospective of the artist's career since the memorial exhibitions that followed his death.

Sargent (1856-1925) was a genuinely international figure. Born of American parents, he grew up in Europe and forged his early reputation in Paris. Later, he established himself in England and the United States as the leading portraitist of the day, and traveled widely in North Africa and the Middle East. Contributors to this book assess Sargent's career in three essays. Richard Ormond presents a biographical sketch and, in a second essay, reviews Sargent's development as an artist. Mary Crawford Volk explores his thirty-year involvement with painting murals--in particular the works at the Boston Public Library and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts that Sargent regarded as his greatest achievement.

The book arranges Sargent's paintings into sections that reflect every phase and aspect of his career. We encounter, for example, such famous early works as Oyster Gatherers of Cancale, Sargent's robust and brilliantly lit scene of fishing life in Brittany. We see many of his greatest American and English portraits, including his daringly posed portrait of Bostonian Isabella Stewart Gardner and his audacious painting of Lady Agnew of Lochnaw, which caused a sensation in London in 1893. The book also includes important late works such as Gassed, his monumental painting of soldiers blinded by mustard gas on the western front, and many of his ambitious murals in Boston.

Sargent is a visually stunning, beautifully written, and perceptive work on one of the most important and admired artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Six Women's Portraits Cards by John Singer Sargent – Accessory Cards edition, Dover Pubns, 1998

Six splendid full-color depictions of elegant society ladies by John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) appear in this collection: The Acheson Sisters, Mrs. Henry White, Mrs. Carl Meyer and Her Children, Millicent, Dutchess of Sutherland, Lady Agnew of Lochnaw, and Miss Helen Dunham.

Sargent Abroad: Figures and Landscapes by Warren Adelson (Editor), Donna Seldin Janis, Elaine Kilmurray – Hardcover, 256 pages 1st edition Abbeville Press, Inc., 1997

Famous for his society portraits, Sargent is revealed here as a painter of brilliant watercolors depicting Mediterranean landscapes, Venetian palaces, Alpine vistas, Italian gardens, Bedouin encampments . . . luminous reproductions.


John Singer Sargent Paperback, Published by Whitney Museum of Art, 1986


John Singer Sargent (The Library of American Art) by Trevor Fairbrother – Hardcover, 157 pages, Published by Harry N Abrams, 1994

I. Beginnings: A Career in Paris II. Instinct for the Esoteric III. Fame and Scandal as a Parisian Portraitist IV. Decision and Indecision V. International Success in the 1890s VI. The Informal and the Personal VII. Canonized and Criticized VIII. Aftermath: Placing Sargent in the History of Art


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