Cover image for John Singer Sargent
John Singer Sargent
Publication Information:
Princeton : Princeton University Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
285 p. : ill. (some col.), ports. ; 30 cm.
General Note:
"This catalogue is published to accompany the exhibition at Tate Gallery, London 15 Oct. 1998-17 Jan. 1999, and touring to National Gallery of Art, Washington 21 Feb.-31 May 1999; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 23 June-26 Sept. 1999"--T.p. verso.
Directors' Foreword -- Acknowledgements -- John Singer Sargent : a biographical sketch / Richard Ormond -- Sargent's art / Richard Ormond -- Sargent in public : on the Boston murals / Mary Crawford Volk -- Catalogue -- Chronology -- Select bibliography -- Index.


Material Type
Shelf Number
Book ND237.S3A4 1998 1

On Order



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.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Sargent is a painter who never fails to please. His career spanned the era of the Impressionists to the second decade of the 20th century, and his art, while lacking perhaps the originality of Whistler and the insight of Eakins, was always highly accomplished and enormously popular. At its best it unashamedly evokes the wealth, charm, and confidence of the Gilded Age. This book accompanies the major Sargent retrospective that ended recently at London's Tate Gallery and can now be seen at Washington, DC's National Gallery before it goes on to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Well-known Sargent specialist Ormond contributed two essays and shared editing responsibilities with Kilmurray. They offer portraits, landscapes, and watercolors as well as the important mural project for the Boston Public Library; the result--a splendid overview, recommended as the best single book on this artist. Although a few familiar works are not included (Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth, for instance) and some of the more than 150 color illustrations lack the definition achieved in the authors' recent John Singer Sargent: the Complete Paintings. v. 1: The Early Portraits (CH, Nov'98), elegant prose and thorough documentation--endnotes, bibliography, and chronology--more than compensate. A good choice for all libraries. General readers; undergraduates through faculty. W. S. Rodner Tidewater Community College

Table of Contents

Forewordp. 7
Acknowledgementsp. 9
John Singer Sargent: A Biographical Sketchp. 11
Sargent's Artp. 23
Sargent in Public: On the Boston Muralsp. 45
1 Early Landscapes and Subject Picturesp. 61
2 Paris and the Salonp. 83
3 Impressionismp. 105
4 Portraiture in England and Americap. 129
5 The Muralsp. 177
6 Sargent the Watercolouristp. 209
7 Late Landscapes, Figure Studies and the Warp. 241
Chronologyp. 272
Select Bibliographyp. 278
Indexp. 282