Ada Rehan, John Singer Sargent (American, Florence 1856–1925 London), Oil on canvas

Ada Rehan

John Singer Sargent (American, Florence 1856–1925 London)
Oil on canvas
93 x 50 1/8in. (236.2 x 127.3cm)
Framed: 8 ft. 6 1/4 in. × 58 3/4 in. × 4 1/2 in. (259.7 × 149.2 × 11.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Bequest of Catharine Lasell Whitin, in memory of Ada Rehan, 1940
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 771
Born Delia Crehan in Limerick, Ireland, Ada Rehan (1860–1916) moved to America as a child and began performing on stage when she was sixteen years old. An error on a theater bill rendered her name Ada C. Rehan (instead of Crehan), and the name stuck. In 1879, she joined Augustin Daly’s theater company, and became internationally renowned for playing in Shakespeare’s comedies and other plays. In this portrait, which was commissioned by an American admirer, Sargent accentuates the actor’s imposing stage presence, though she is not in character. Sargent elevates her status by showing her in the grand manner and scale typical of paintings of royalty or aristocracy.
Signature: [at lower left]: John S. Sargent
Mrs. George M. Whitin, Whitinsville, Massachusetts, 1895 -died 1940