John Singer Sargent painter who was paid five thousand dollars for a portrait
John Singer Sargent was an American-born portrait painter of the last third of the 19th and early 20th centuries, an expatriate of American descent. The work of John Sargent was highly appreciated by his contemporaries. More than nine hundred of his oil paintings, two thousand watercolors, many sketches and drawings with charcoal have survived.
John Singer Sargent delighted critics with his confident, free manner, courage, dynamism of strokes. At the peak of his popularity, the artist took five thousand dollars for one portrait. Despite this, customers from all over the world came to him.
John Singer Sargent was born on January 12, 1856 in Italy, the son of an eye surgeon. Until the end of their days, his parents remained nomadic expatriates, “citizens of the world”, preferring to move from country to country. It all started when my father worked in Philadelphia: the first child died a two-year-old girl.
To unwind, the couple took a trip around the world and stayed in Florence due to a cholera epidemic. It was here that the son was born. His father dreamed of a naval career for the boy, while his mother believed that a trip to Europe would give him a versatile education. Since childhood, John Singer himself preferred outdoor games, rather than study. Interfered with the acquisition of systematic knowledge and nomadic life.
Artistic inclinations John Singer Sargent inherited from his parents: his father became famous as a medical illustrator, his mother was a talented artist. It was she who encouraged her son’s desire to draw, who often made sketches of landscapes, copied pictures from newspapers. Having discerned the future talent in time, the mother persuaded him to give the boy an art education. He took his first lessons from the German landscape painter Karl Welsch (Heinrich Carl Welsch).
John Sargent received his primary education at the Academy of Florence and continued his studies in Paris. He entered the High School of Fine Arts in 1874. He worked a lot on anatomy, perspective, painted in museums, took lessons from the portraitist Charles Carolus-Durant (Charles Emile Auguste Durant). This determined the future direction of John Sargent’s activities. He quickly realized that portrait painting is the best way to advance a career and guarantee a stable income.
After 1879, Sargent traveled extensively.
A trip to Spain drew his attention to plastic Spanish dancing. In Italy, he made many sketches of genre scenes, studied gestures and postures, which came in handy later when creating elegant portraits. Returning to Paris, the artist immediately began to receive orders, demonstrated amazing stamina, and could work at night. In the 1880s, his work was exhibited at numerous salons. At the same time, The Portrait of Madame X received scandalous fame, although the author himself really liked it.
Due to the scandal, John Sargent moved to London, where he exhibited his work at the Royal Academy. Here he also met Oscar-Claude Monet and in 1885 painted a portrait of the artist and his bride.
In 1887-1888, John Sargent visited New York, which brought him new orders upon his return to Europe. The painter learned to work without preliminary sketches, did everything himself, did not have assistants. Notable personalities he portrayed included Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson and Theodore Roosevelt.
End of career
In 1907, the master turned 51 years old. He officially closed the portrait studio, ending his career with a self-portrait. Later he devoted himself to watercolors, traveled to the East, to Venice, across the American states, depicting nature, mountains, architecture, exotic peoples.
In 1922, John Sargent became one of the founders of the Central Art Gallery of New York, where his largest exhibition was held two years later. In 1925, the painter returned to London, where on April 14 he unexpectedly died of a heart attack. The famous portraitist was buried at Brookwood Cemetery.
The most famous paintings by John Singer Sargent
The paintings of John Singer Sargent during his lifetime and after his death are highly appreciated by art critics and painting fans. The most famous of the artist’s works:
- “Spanish dancer. Sketch for El Jaleo “(1882) a performance by a Spanish gypsy, where the master studied the plasticity of movements and poses.
- “Portrait of Madame X” (1884) despite the usual image of a lady in a low-cut dress, has caused indignation and criticism of art critics.
- “Claude Monet Painting at the Edge of the Forest” (1885) the scene took place during the plein air in Giverny, near Paris. The creator of the picture was impressed by the patience of the bride Monet and his focused work on nature.
- “Portrait of Theodore Roosevelt” (1903) the artist caught the moment when Roosevelt turned to him, while walking through the White House, and made him hold a pose.
- “Siesta of Gondoliers” (1904) a watercolor painting of a street scene against the background of an old building. One of the many works devoted to the transfer of the surrounding life.
- “Almina, daughter of Asher Wertheimer” (1908) shaken the reputation of the master, who was accused of excessive love for Jews. Depicts Almina Wertheimer in a Persian outfit.