John Singer Sargent

American painter (1856–1925)

John Singer Sargent (January 12, 1856 – April 14, 1925) was an American artist. He was the leading portrait painter of his day.[1][2]

John Singer Sargent
Self-Portrait, 1906, oil on canvas,
Uffizi Gallery, Florence.
Born(1856-01-12)January 12, 1856
DiedApril 14, 1925(1925-04-14) (aged 69)
NationalityAmerican (USA)

During his career, he created about 900 oil paintings and more than 2,000 watercolors, as well as many sketches and charcoal drawings. He travelled worldwide. His parents were American, but he was trained in Paris, and then moved to London.

His "Portrait of Madame X" resulted in scandal, though today it is hard to see why. She was thought to be somewhat loose sexually. In the original portrait as exhibited, one strap of her gown had fallen down her right shoulder. This suggested to some the possibility of further revelation; "One more struggle", wrote a critic in Le Figaro, "and the lady will be free".

Sargent visited Spain, studied Diego Velázquez, and was entranced with Spanish music and dance. He understood what the Impressionists were doing, and adopted their habit of painting en plein-air. He was a big fan of Monet, and bought four of his works. His portrait of Monet shows he understood what was going on in French art at the time.

Sergent kept his American citizenship, and went back there four times. However, he remained living in London to the end of his life.



  1. "Sargent came into his own in the 1890s as the leading portrait painter of his generation". Ormond, Richard 1998. "Sargent's Art" in John Singer Sargent. Tate Gallery, p. 34.
  2. "At the time of the Wertheimer commission Sargent was the most celebrated, sought-after and expensive portrait painter in the world". New Orleans Museum of Art Archived 2008-04-20 at the Wayback Machine
  3. Adelson, Warren; Davis, Deborah; Kilmurray,Elaine; Ormond, Richard 2003. Sargent's Women. New York: Adelson Galleries. ISBN 9780974162102