John Singer Sargent (American, Florence 1856–1925 London)
Oil on canvas
56 1/2 x 36 1/4 in. (143.5 x 92.1 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Edward Robinson, 1931
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774
Edward Robinson (1858–1931) probably met Sargent in the early 1890s, when he was the curator of classical antiquities at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the artist was working on murals for the Boston Public Library. Robinson was appointed director of the Museum of Fine Arts in 1902, the year before Sargent painted him. He would come to the Metropolitan Museum as assistant director in 1905 and serve as director from 1910 until 1931. In Sargent’s portrait, the library interior and the ancient bronze mirror on the desk (which Robinson presented to the Metropolitan in 1929 (29.141a–c) refer to Robinson’s career as an archaeologist and a scholar.
Signature: [at upper left]: John S. Sargent 1903
the sitter, Boston and New York, 1903–died 1931; his wife, Mrs. Edward Robinson, New York, 1931