Exhibitions/ Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends

Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends

At The Met Fifth Avenue
June 30 / 2015–October 4 / 2015
Exhibitions are free with Museum admission.

Exhibition Catalogue

This companion volume examines Sargent's career through his brilliant portraits of artists, writers, actors, and musicians.

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Exhibition Overview

Throughout his career, the celebrated American painter John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) created exceptional portraits of artists, writers, actors, dancers, and musicians, many of whom were his close friends. As a group, these portraits—many of which were not commissioned—are often highly charged, intimate, witty, idiosyncratic, and more experimental than his formal portraiture. Brilliant works of art and penetrating character studies, they are also records of relationships, influences, aspirations, and allegiances.

Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends brings together ninety-two of the artist's paintings and drawings of members of his impressive artistic circle. The individuals seen through Sargent's eyes represent a range of leading figures in the creative arts of the time such as artists Claude Monet and Auguste Rodin, writers Robert Louis Stevenson and Henry James, and the actor Ellen Terry, among others. The exhibition features some of Sargent's most celebrated full-length portraits (Dr. Pozzi at Home, Hammer Museum), his dazzling subject paintings created in the Italian countryside (Group with Parasols [Siesta], private collection), and brilliant watercolors (In the Generalife, The Metropolitan Museum of Art) alongside lesser-known portrait sketches of his intimate friends (Vernon Lee, 1881, Tate). The exhibition explores the friendships between Sargent and his artistic sitters, as well as the significance of these relationships to his life and art.

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The exhibition is made possible by The Marguerite and Frank A. Cosgrove Jr. Fund.

It was organized by the National Portrait Gallery, London, in collaboration with The Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Exhibition Objects




John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925). The Fountain, Villa Torlonia, Frascati, Italy, 1907. Oil on canvas; 28 1/8 x 22 1/4 in. (71.4 x 56.5 cm). The Art Institute of Chicago, Friends of American Art Collection