John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925)
Oil on canvas
84 1/4 x 39 3/4 in. (214 x 101 cm)
Bequest of Edith Minturn Phelps Stokes (Mrs. I. N.), 1938 (38.104)
Sargent painted this double portrait in 1897. Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes (1867–1944), the son of Mr. and Mrs. Anson Phelps Stokes (see 65.252) was then an architecture student in Paris. He later distinguished himself as an architect and author. His wife, Edith Minturn Stokes (1867–1937) was born in West Brighton, Staten Island, a daughter of the heir to a shipping fortune. The Stokes were married on August 25, 1895, and the portrait by Sargent was a wedding gift from James A. Scrimser. Sargent's first intention was to paint a single portrait of Edith during the summer of 1897 in Venice. After numerous posing and preparatory sessions, the artist decided to paint her as if she were just returning from a brisk walk outdoors, with a Great Dane at her side. After the portrait was finished, however, the dog was no longer available and I. N. Phelps Stokes suggested that he take its place. Sargent agreed, and the single portrait became a double portrait.