Mrs. Hugh Hammersley
John Singer Sargent American
Not on view
Mary Frances Hammersley (1863–1911) was a notable hostess and patron of the arts. She held court at her home in London for a galaxy of artists and writers, including Henry James and Max Beerbohm. She was well informed about contemporary British art and promoted the careers of several of the artists whom she befriended. After painting her portrait in 1892, she and Sargent formed a lasting friendship.
Exhibited at the New Gallery, London, in 1893, this portrait helped establish Sargent on the British art scene and led to his election as an associate of the Royal Academy. Sargent captures Hammersley's vivacious personality in her energetic pose and her brilliant fuchsia velvet dress. One critic enthused, "The head literally vibrates with life; never has the spirit of conversation been more actually and vividly embodied."
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