John Singer Sargent

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John Singer Sargent was an American painter who is known for his glamorous portraits of eminent or socially prominent people of the period. He was born in Florence, Italy, of American parents. He studied art in Italy, France, and Germany, receiving his formal art education at the École des Beaux-Arts and in the Paris studio of the noted French portraitist Carolus-Duran. He spent most of his adult life in England, maintaining a studio there for more than 30 years and visiting America only on short trips.

Criticized for what some believed to be a superficial brilliance, Sargent's portraits fell into disfavor after his death. Since that time, however, these same canvases have been acknowledged for their naturalism and superb technical skill. About 1907 Sargent tired of portrait painting and accepted few commissions. He then worked chiefly on European scenes in watercolor, in a notably impressionistic style. Among his more famous works are El Jaleo (1882, Gardner Museum, Boston), Madame X (1884, Metropolitan Museum, New York), The Wyndham Sisters (1900, Metropolitan Museum), and Boats at Anchor (1917, Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts).

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